Meat bars are everywhere.
Companies from enormous chocolate makers to healthy-food startups are investing big on these protein-heavy snacks — despite how bizarre they sound.
Hershey is launching Krave dried meat protein bars in August, with flavors like blueberry barbecue beef after acquiring the jerky brand last year.
General Mills acquired meat bar industry leader, Epic Bar, in January. Startups like Kratos, Omnibar, and Caveman Foods are debuting meaty bars of their own, which are taking off not only in specialty stores, but also at mainstream retail giants like Whole Foods and Costco.
The rise of the new snack is rooted in a wider movement towards protein-rich on-the-go options.
American consumers are moving away from many of the diet staples that previously dominated the portfolios of companies like General Mills and Hershey. Sales growth of chocolate in the US sales growth has slowed each year since 2010, reports the Wall Street Journal, while cereal sales dropped 5% from 2009 to 2014.
Meanwhile, protein is hotter than ever. In 2006, 39% of the US population said they sought out foods that are high in protein, according to the National Marketing Institute. By 2014, 53% were seeking high-protein options.