Hershey’s is experimenting with dried meat

Nothing wrong with expanding or maximizing your income streams. Brands do it all the time. But what do you do when market trends force you to take a long hard look at the falling popularity of what you’re offering? Well, if you’re Hershey’s, you think about taking the emphasis off chocolate and putting it on meat.

According to various media reports, the century-old American chocolatier thinks the “dried meat bar” may become the chocolate bar of the 21st century, the guilty pleasure you don’t have to feel too guilty about.

Hershey’s plans to market its Krave protein bars nationwide. Unlike previous “protein bars” made from what tastes like cardboard and glue, Hershey’s will use dried meat, mangos, cranberries and quinoa in theirs. Of course, if you don’t like meat, they will also have the sunflower seed-almond varieties in various fruit flavors as well as smoothies in pouches.
While Hershey’s says it’s simply expanding its product line to accommodate more customers, others argue this is the first wave of a shift in response to more long-term consumer buying behavior.

Whatever the reason, Hershey’s already knows there’s a market for Krave products. After purchasing the jerky company and amping up the marketing, Hershey’s saw sales double. The company responded by expanding shelf space and adding new flavors. Customers continued to eat it up. Enter the protein bars.

It’s an interesting mix – the protein bar with the initial taste of jerky, rather than soy or “fruit flavor”. Add to that the texture of a bar that’s much different than the stringy, tough texture of traditional jerky. The company may have found the best of both worlds … or they may have discovered a “compromise” nobody really wants.

The answer, of course, will be in the sales. Will people love the combination? And will the new “something of both” line take sales away from Krave jerky? Hershey’s will have to deal with both of these questions while still seeking to answer the one that got the whole process rolling in the first place: how can we get Americans to start eating chocolate again?

Ronn Torossian is the CEO and founder of 5WPR – the leading NY based PR Firm.

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