The meat snacks subsector, driven by consumer preferences for high-protein and better-for-you snacks, offers attractive investment prospects. Many leading brands in this segment rely on co-manufacturers to produce their meat snacks, creating an appealing opportunity.
According to an analysis by Harris Williams, a global investment bank specializing in M&A and private capital advisory services, differentiation is crucial for growth within the co-manufacturing industry. The rising interest of consumers in high-protein foods and better-for-you snacks is one of the market opportunities for the sector.
Additionally, the increase of investments in co-manufacturers by CPG companies to produce their meat snacks, creates a fruitful scenario for this type of business.
Meat Snacks: A Growing Subsector
Meat snacks represent one of the fastest-growing segments within the snack category. Consumers’ increasing interest in high-protein, better-for-you options has transformed meat sticks and other meat snacks into favored snacks for various demographics.
Co-Manufacturers at the Core
Given the intricacies of meat snack manufacturing, co-manufacturers play a pivotal role in innovation within this subsector. Investors are taking note of co-manufacturing’s brand-agnostic appeal, allowing them to diversify risk across multiple brands in a category.
Differentiation Matters: The Western Smokehouse Example
Successful co-manufacturers share common traits such as aligning with consumer preferences, innovation, scale, and differentiated manufacturing capabilities. Western Smokehouse, acquired by AUA Private Equity Partners, serves as an excellent example. It aligns with better-for-you preferences and offers differentiated manufacturing, including zero-sugar meat snacks.
R&D and Capacity Building
Co-manufacturers’ research and development capabilities, along with their capacity to support brand growth, are crucial differentiators. Brands require partners with the expertise to commercialize new products and the foresight to identify industry trends. Western Smokehouse excels in flavor development, zero-sugar production, plant-based processing, non-GMO, no artificial flavors, and gluten-free products.
Expansion and Roll-Ups
Investors recognize the potential for co-manufacturers to benefit from their customers’ growth. As brands expand, co-manufacturers with proven differentiation and scaling abilities become valuable partners. These co-manufacturers can leverage their expertise, customer relationships, and management strength to expand within their subsector or into related sectors.
Investment opportunities in the meat snacks and co-manufacturing industry are thriving. Brands offering better-for-you meat snacks are driving growth in this subsector, while co-manufacturers with differentiation and scaling capabilities are attracting substantial investor interest. Roll-ups and expansion within the food co-manufacturing sector present compelling prospects for investors.
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