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Chips have long been a favorite snack for Americans, but they may be starting to lose their edge. A recent study from Nielsen finds that sales of meat snacks, like buying beef jerky in bulk and convenience-packaged dry sausage sticks, has expanded, while chip sales have slowed. And when Slim Jims are what comes to mind, you better think again: New competitors have entered the market, driving growth by emphasizing their wholesome qualities and marketing toward consumers on specialized diets.

Meat snack sales have risen 3.5 percent over the past year to $2.8 billion, according to Nielsen, with 7 percent compound growth over the past 4 years. Though chips sales tend to be more than twice that amount, the category posted a dollar development of just 1.7 percent this past year.

American households spend typically $25.81 on meat snacks annually, which puts them in second devote the salty snacks category, behind the typical $35.37 people pay for potato chips. Households spend more funds on meat snacks compared to they do on cheese snacks, popcorn or corn chips, though that may be because meat snacks can command higher prices.

So what’s together with the sudden interest in jerky? Individuals are snacking more and eating fewer take a seat meals, that has led them to consider “snacks that pack a nutritional punch” said David Walsh, vice president of communications and membership for SNAC, a worldwide trade association for the snack industry.

There has been a dietary trend from carbohydrates and toward protein, which can lead some people to eat fewer chips and more meats, particularly meat snacks. “Meat snacks have benefited from the increasing prevalence of Americans looking to eat more protein within a healthful diet,” said Jordan Rost, v . p . of consumer insights at Nielsen, within an email.

The marketplace for them is growing even while meat departments in grocery stores are lagging, as outlined by Food Navigator, which reported that sales in grocery meat departments declined 2.5 percent last year. That decline was as a result of deflationary pressures which may have brought down the cost of meat, said Rost.

Many newer, upscale brands have eschewed the hypermasculine marketing that brands like Slim Jim once favored. They’re more prone to highlight the point that their meat is grass-fed, and their items are gluten-free and Paleo diet friendly. Consumer research firm Mintel discovered that nearly three-fourths of clients crave healthier salty snack options, and this 79 percent want so that you can recognize a snack’s ingredient list, based on trade publication Convenience Store Decisions.

That’s why you may be seeing more and more of brands like Naked Cow, whose motto is “Just Beef Jerky – No ‘Udder’ Stuff”; Chomps, which touts its Whole 30 approval; and Epic Provisions, which puts the amount of grams of protein in all of its bars in huge font, in addition to “100 percent grass-fed.” Many merchandise is aimed toward Millennials, specially those doing CrossFit, a demographic to whom some brands, like Wild Zora, market directly.

That move is in line with overall snacking trends. “Things like organic, natural snacks, clean label, are growing in general,” Walsh said.

Big brands are catching on, too. ConAgra, which owns Slim Jim, recently purchased Duke’s, a maker of snack sausages with folksy branding that emphasizes whole ingredients. In 2015, dexjpky87 purchased Krave, a brandname making meat sticks with things that appear to be a gourmet meal: spicy red pepper pork with black beans, or sesame garlic beef with sweet potato.

But could meat snacks beat the chip industry? It’s unlikely to occur soon. While the marketplace for meat snacks keeps growing with a faster rate, potato chips still come out ahead regarding units sold: In accordance with data offered by Nielsen, over 3 billion packages of potato chips sold over the last year, in comparison with 900 million meat snacks.