PWTA Beef Jerky Episode

What’s your go-to snack? Chips and salsa? Maybe some yogurt and granola? For us, we prefer something on the savory side of things…

Honestly, there’s nothing better than a hearty strip of beef jerky when you’re hungry. 

Today, we’re discussing some of the most disruptive (and tasty) beef jerky brands of 2020 and determining which one takes the crown for the beefiest, jerkiest of them all. 

Here are the brands under the spotlight: 

We’re rating these beef jerky brands not only on their savory tastes, but also on their product design/packaging, company backgrounds, social strategy, sales and distribution, and disruptive level in the market. As entrepreneurs ourselves, we enjoy getting into the nitty-gritty details of how these brands are showing up online, on social media, and their overall impact. 

So without further ado, let’s open up some packs of the best jerky ever made…

KRAVE Beef Jerky Review 

  • Product Review

We’ve seen KRAVE Jerky literally everywhere — from grocery stores to gas stations. You may have recognized their vibrant, colorful packaging on the aisle, marketing their unique flavor options, including Sweet Chipotle, Chili Lime, and more. 

Their packaging design really makes their jerky stand out. Most jerky brands use the traditional, old-school branding, but KRAVE Jerky opted for a modern look, and we think it works! They also do 2.7 oz bags, which are bigger than the typical jerky bag — perfect for a hearty snack.

Moving on to taste testing, their flavors are definitely more spicy than the typical salt and pepper jerky, so if spicy jerky is your thing, KRAVE is the right brand for you! And if you’re looking for a plant-based jerky, KRAVE’s got your back! Overall, we thought their jerky tasted good, and the texture was somehow both crunchy and chewy — just like jerky should be. 

  • Pricing 

You can buy an eight-pack of KRAVE Jerky on Amazon for $39.95, which adds up to $1.85 per ounce, making it at least 25% cheaper than the other two brands we looked at. We recommend trying their Sweet Chipotle and Chili Lime flavors! They’re constantly releasing new flavors, though, so keep on the lookout for the next mouth-watering edition!

  • Company Background

KRAVE was founded in 2009 by Jon Sebastiani and was acquired by Hershey’s for $220 million in 2015. Only six years into their business, they were able to sell it to one of the world’s largest food brands — absolutely crazy!

The story goes that the founder, Jon, dreamed up the idea for KRAVE Jerky while running the New York Marathon. He needed a healthy protein snack, but at that time, there weren’t many options. His family owned some vineyards in Sonoma, Italy, and so with help from their funding, he was able to launch one of the most successful beef jerky brands of all time.

EPIC Provisions Jerky

  • Product Review

As far as packaging goes, EPIC Provisions was our favorite. Honestly, it’s probably in the top three packaging/branding winners of all the brands and products we’ve reviewed. It’s not overly flashy, but it’s eye-catching. Similar to KRAVE, it has a very modern design, and in half a second, you know what the product is. On each 2.5 oz bag, there’s a beautiful graphic of a wild animal (different for each flavor) and a clear plastic window through which you can see tasty bits of jerky. Delicious and genius at the same time. 

EPIC Provisions has some pretty wild flavors, so while you may not like all of them, there’s sure to be a flavor that’s right for you. Some of their flavors include Venison Sea Salt and Pepper Strip (Tyler’s favorite), Wagyu Steak Beef, and Salmon Smoked Maple Strip (RT’s favorite). The texture of these strips isn’t super chewy — they’re more like traditional bacon, which allows for a more natural feel. 

  • Pricing

You can buy an eight-pack on Amazon for $47.92, which adds up to $2.40 per ounce, putting it in the middle price-wise from the brands we reviewed.  

  • Company Background

EPIC Provisions was founded in 2012 by Taylor Collins and Katie Forest — a husband and wife team. On LinkedIn, they have 20 listed employees and are based in Austin, Texas. In 2016, General Mills acquired them for about a hundred million.

One hilarious fact is that the founders started EPIC Provisions when they decided to go vegetarian — although the brand is strictly non-vegetarian. They wanted to create a meat snack that was healthy, clean, and natural, and they did just that! 

EPIC Provision’s most well-known product is their protein bar, but they have several other products including jerky, pork rinds, and bone broth. Next time you’re in a Whole Foods, keep an eye out for any one of their delicious provisions.  

Perky Jerky

  • Product Review

Last but not least, we have Perky Jerky, which is the most traditional jerky brand of the three. Their packaging is very masculine and informative — it tells you exactly what’s in it, and as soon as you see the package, you know it’s jerky. Tyler loves the bright modern packaging a little bit better, but RT was a fan of the simple, traditional packaging. Perky Jerky has a smaller bag size than the other brands — 2.2 oz bags — so that’s something to keep in mind as well. 

Moving on to their flavors, some of our favorites are Beef, Pork, Sea Salt & Pepper, and Sweet Teriyaki. They also have a vegan option, which still contains a lot of protein (7 grams per serving); however, it doesn’t look super appetizing. RT said it looked like dried dog poop on the bottom of your shoe — doesn’t exactly make you want to try it, does it? 

When you taste the vegan jerky, it tastes more like a fruit bar — nothing really like jerky at all. But if vegan jerky is your thing, then go for it! 

Overall, we really liked the taste of Perky Jerky, and we appreciated how they use all clean ingredients for their products. 

  • Pricing

Each Perky Jerky 2.2 ounce bag is $5.50 on Amazon, which adds up to $2.50 per ounce. It’s more expensive than the other jerkies we reviewed, but it’s made from quality ingredients and contains around 10 grams of protein per serving. 

  • Company Background

Perky Jerky was founded in 2009 by Brian Levin, and they’re actually located pretty close to us — just outside of Denver, Colorado. They have 19 listed employees on LinkedIn, and they were funded by a venture capital firm. 

They recently started a line of vegan jerky, and although we’re skeptical about its texture and taste, we appreciate the disruptive move! 

Social Media Strategy and Sales Conversions

Now that we’ve taken a look at their packaging, taste, pricing, and company backgrounds, it’s time to dive into what we entrepreneurs love best — social media, marketing, and websites.

Social Media Strategy 

  • On Instagram, KRAVE Beef Jerky has approximately 15,000 followers and mainly posts pictures of their products once a week. It’s definitely a safe strategy — they’re not trying to do anything disruptive with their social media — just advertising their products. Their account looks agency-run, which makes sense because they were acquired by Hershey. 
  • One advantage to owning a private company like Perky Jerky is that you have more freedom over your social media and you can try disruptive tactics — you don’t have to play it safe! Perky Jerky’s social strategy is the complete opposite of KRAVE’s — they post about every day and include a huge variety of post-types, including influencers, brand ambassadors, customer-submitted photos, and team personality pictures. Their social media strategy brands the company as people and value-centered — very authentic! 
  • EPIC Provisions social strategy lands in the middle between KRAVE’s and Perky Jerky’s. Their Instagram feed is very clean and presentable, but they include great pictures of influencers, testimonials, and animals that show they aren’t “playing it safe.” Out of the three, it was Tyler’s favorite, and RT liked it as well. 

Websites and Sales Distribution

  • KRAVE Beef Jerky’s website looks like a typical Shopify store — it’s very simple, clean, and easy to navigate. They have a product locator at the top of the page, so you can easily find out whether stores near you sell their products, and they also include a Nutrition FAQ page for those wanting to learn more about the ingredients they use. Using SEMrush, we determined that they see around 7,000 visitors on their website per month, which is pretty low. However, on Amazon, they offer a subscription service for their jerky, which is super smart on their end. You can subscribe to a single 8-pack or a 16-pack, depending on how hungry you are. Overall, we concluded that KRAVE is more focused on retail sales than anything, which makes sense for a beef jerky company. 
  • Perky Jerky’s website was impressive — similar to KRAVE’s, they list out their ingredients prominently and use the same color schemes as their packaging, which creates a harmonized brand experience. One thing we both liked about Perky Jerky was that they offer massive boxes and bundles of jerky at a high discount that you can buy for your workspace (or yourself). They are doing very well on Amazon, and like KRAVE, they offer a subscription option. 
  • Lastly, we took a look at EPIC Provisions’ website, which sees almost 40,000 people per month! Out of the three, their website is definitely the strongest — they have a blog, product-locator page, animal-info page, along with the typical product page and about page. They use the same branding on the website as they do on their packaging, which is a smart move, and they do a great job of explaining each of their products clearly. They also offer a subscription service to their products — jerky, bars, etc. One thing that we thought they could highlight more are customer testimonials and reviews, which would contribute to the credibility of their brand.  

The Beer Score

After taking all of these statistics and our subjective opinions into account, we give our final score — the Beer Score (AKA which founder we want to find and have a beer with). 

  • Product Design/Packaging 

RT rated all the brands pretty high on product design and packaging, but Tyler gave Perky Jerky a shocking 4! He’s not a huge fan of traditional branding and prefers branding that’s more modern, eye-catching, and colorful. On the other hand, RT gave KRAVE Beef Jerky a 6 on packaging because their branding is too “vibrant and fun” — he said it looks like fruit snacks from the outside. In the end, we both agreed that EPIC Provisions deserved a 9 for packaging.

  • Social Strategy 

EPIC Provisions scored the highest in this category as well — an 8 from Tyler and a 9 from RT. We disagreed a bit on KRAVE’s social strategy; RT gave them an 8 while Tyler gave them a 5 since they are playing it too safe. As for Perky Jerky, it scored in the middle with a 7 from Tyler and a 6 from RT.

  • Sales and Distribution

While beef jerky sales are mainly retail for all of these brands, EPIC Provisions is killing it at e-commerce via their incredible website, which is why RT gave them a 10! Perky Jerky is doing the best on Amazon, scoring a 7 from Tyler and an 8 from RT, while KRAVE is roughly the same, earning an 8 from Tyler and a 7 from RT. 

  • Disruptive Level  

Lastly, we scored each brand based on their disruptive appeal — how they stand out from other brands and catch our attention. Tyler gave Perky Jerky a low 5, while RT wasn’t as harsh, giving them an 8 because of their Amazon performance. We both gave EPIC Provisions a 9 — compared to other beef jerky brands, EPIC definitely stands out from a packaging standpoint and e-commerce strategy. Lastly, for KRAVE, RT gave them a 6, and Tyler gave them an 8.

And the Best Beef Jerky Brand Is…

It’s probably no surprise who the winner of the best beef jerky brand was. The final scores were 53 for Perky Jerky, 57 for KRAVE, and a whopping 72 for EPIC Provisions! 

On Products Worth Talking About, our mission is to not only give you reliable information on disruptive products but also give you valuable insight into what makes great businesses successful! In this episode, we both had several takeaways that we plan to apply to our own businesses. 

  • The Power of Retail: We’re both e-commerce entrepreneurs, but we can definitely see the value in retail strategy — KRAVE and EPIC Provisions have been acquired by larger companies for over $100 million, which is HUGE. Their retail distribution definitely makes their brand more appealing for acquisition. 
  • Using Bundles to Increase Order Value: For each of these brands, you can buy jerky in bulk at a discounted price, which increases average order value. If you’re selling a relatively low-priced product, bundles are a great way to increase order value while also providing discounted prices for your customers. 

While the founders of EPIC are probably on a secluded beach somewhere with their $100 million, we’re going to do our best to track them down for an interview! 

We hope you enjoyed reading this post. If you learned something today, we would love to hear from you. Take a screenshot of the episode and share your greatest takeaways with us on Instagram, @productsworthtalkingabout. And if you love the show, make sure to subscribe on YouTube so that you can get new content delivered to you directly! Let us know what products and brands you want us to review!

Lastly, if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur who wants to build a product-based business, check out our business plan that literally writes itself! Within no time, you’ll be ready to pitch to investors and start the company of your dreams. 

Thanks for reading! Until next time —

RT and Tyler

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