"There is so much more awareness about what is in the product, and people are paying more attention to the ingredients,” Kaney said. “I don't feel like we've seen all the new flavors come out like it used to be. I think a lot of it is more now like this product doesn't have sugar, or this product doesn't have nitrates, or this is organic or grass-fed. All those benefits that are more health-related are where I see the market changing."
The meat snack market expands with healthier options
Consumer demand for convenient, better-for-you options are helping the overall meat snack market grow. The meat snacks market was valued at $12.17bn in 2022 and is expected to grow to $17.68bn in 2028, growing at a CAGR of 6.4% from 2022 to 2028, with consumers opting for leaner meats and healthier, lower fat options, according to data from The Insight Partners.
One way Cattaneo Bros. is delivering on this trend by not adding sugar to its range of Classic Cut, 100% Grassfed, Extra-thin Cut, and Premium Handcut beef snacks and Naturally Smoked Beef Sticks, Kaney said. While several better-for-you meat snack products have entered the market, many other meat snack companies still rely on added sugar, she added.
"If you are just eating steak, and you've put some good seasoning on it, it should speak for itself if it's very good quality — and that's really how jerky should be too. So, when jerky companies are putting all these sugars or other things in it, they're either, one, doing it to mask the quality of meat... and then the other reason, too, would be to increase their yield."
Honoring the animal in meat production
Increasingly, consumers are also looking for products that foster proper environmental stewardship and commit to animal welfare. Last year, the Organic Trade Association found that 75% of 6,000 consumers in six markets were concerned about how the meat and dairy industry treats animals.
“We can do a better job of taking care of the animals and valuing what they give to us, and I do think meat protein is very important for us, so I do believe there is value to that, but I do believe that you should eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, too," Kaney admitted.
Cattaneo Bros. works with family ranches to know where and how the cattle are raised and what they are fed, she said. The brand also aims to use as much of the animal as possible in its product, she added.
"We just kind of really honed in on our values about what we believe in those things, whether it's waste and [cattle] humanely being raised and using the entire cow inside our plant,” Kaney said. “We try to aim for as much zero waste as possible. So, using all the trim in our beef stick, ... so we're honoring that animal in a sense and not wasting it."
Expanding distribution and tapping new markets
As it looks out to the rest of the year, Cattaneo Bros. is expanding distribution on Amazon and Faire Wholesale, Kaney said. The company is also "on a mission to jump back into the Western industry," which will include working with rodeos and rodeo athletes, she added.
Cattaneo Bros. also wants to expand into the children's market with a smaller beef stick than it currently offers.
“What we're looking at is to do a half-an-ounce beef stick, so that we can really go after the kids and the youth and get them to start eating healthy snacks rather than sugary gummies or candies or all sorts of other things that they're finding in their lunches... and get them in the mindset of snacking on good healthy snacks, especially protein. It's so vital the youth are getting enough protein.”