The business produces two ranges - Smoked Shorty Sausages and Steak Strips – that offer simple ingredients and flavor combinations that particularly appeal to Target consumers, according to Duke’s founder Justin Havlick.
“Natural, premium products do well in Target, and Duke’s Shorty Sausages provide a premium offering that is differentiated from other dried meat snacks,” he told BakeryandSnacks. “As we continue to grow our brand nationally, gaining placement in Target was a priority.”
All Duke’s sausages are made in small batches using pork or chicken that is never frozen, said founder Justin Havlick, combined with ingredients including fresh garlic, serrano peppers and peaches.
Shorty Sausage sales 'up 150% year-on-year'
In addition to the new Target listing, Duke’s products are available in convenience stores, grocery and mass channels. Sales of Shorty Sausages – sold in Original and Hot & Spicy flavors at $6.80 for a five-ounce bag and $1.99 for a single-serve pack - have increased 150% compared to last year, said Havlick.
He added that premium meat snacks hold a 2% share in the dried meat snacks market, but was enjoying growth eight times the rate of leading national brands.
Shorty Sausages are slow-smoked using hardwood smoke pairings such as hickory, avocado wood, cherry wood and red wine barrels. They are hand-hung and dried for up to 13 days. Each serving delivers seven grams of protein and is low in sugar – zero gram to two grams – depending on the flavor.
Despite general concerns over the quality and healthiness of the processed meat category, meat snacks continue to increase in popularity, said Havlick, adding that growth was being driven by premium products.
“With more options available, including products with higher-quality ingredients, consumers are increasing consumption of smoked meats as a snack or meal replacement,” he said.
New flavors coming soon
And Duke’s is to extend the options it offers consumers in the coming months with the roll-out of new flavors including Hatch Green Chile, Chorizo & Lime, Hickory Peach Barbecue, and Tomato Basil (chicken).
“Given our products and current trends, we have aggressive growth expectations,” said Havlick.
“As the dried meat snacks category continues to grow, it’s important for Duke’s to continue to push the envelope by delivering premium products that appeal to current consumer trends. We feel our new Shorty Sausages accomplish that goal.”