Beef jerky is consumed each year

How Much Jerky Is Consumed Each Year?

Beef jerky is one of the most popular convenience foods in the world. There are many good reasons for this – its pleasant taste, its availability at stores across the country, and its healthy to boot. Beef jerky is high in protein and other nutrients, low in fat, and tasty to our palates.

So, How Many People Eat Beef Jerky?

This brings us to the main question of this article.

How much is beef jerky consumed each year? According to the statistical data provided by the Simmons National Consumer Survey (NHCS) and the U.S. Census information, a little less than half of the U.S. population consumes meat snacks and beef jerky on a regular basis – that’s approximately 160 million Americans.

When you consider that every convenience store in every town sells beef jerky, it’s no surprise that this number is huge.

Beef Jerky Statistics

According to Nielsen research, beef jerky in the United States brings in billions of dollars in revenue per year.

Year over Year Statistics per Nielsen Research:

  • In 2017 (the latest year available as of this writing), total profits from beef jerky were roughly 1.5 billion dollars.
  • In 2016, this number was a little less than 1.4 billion dollars.
  • 2015 saw the beef jerky industry making a profit of slightly over 1.3 billion.

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The trend is steady and obvious.

Statistics per Convenient Store Decisions:

Jerky consumption has increased by as much as 18 percent over the past five years. As per an article by Convenient Store Decisions, jerky is the fastest growing segment of the snack food industry.

In terms of financial information, meat snacks accounted for $1.56 billion in American convenient store sales in 2018.

Jerky by itself earned convenient stores a total of $641.8 million in 2018.

Beef jerky also remains the most popular snack among soldiers and astronauts.

This popularity is believed to be attributed to jerky’s ease in eating and storing during long trips. Another factor in increasing beef jerky sales is dieters and body-builders seeing the dried meat snack as a way to enhance their daily protein on the quick.

Additional Information Related to Beef Jerky

Big portion of beef jerky

First, numerous studies indicate that beef jerky sells better than beef sticks. Second, we see that the beef jerky business has been growing rapidly in the last decade. All the stats and figures that I can find indicate this. For instance, take a look at these stats from the European meat snacks market analysis.

With the European market, we see the same upward trend regarding not just beef jerky but meat snacks in general. Apparently, pickled sausage is very popular in Germany, but beef jerky is only slightly behind. People are really taking a liking to beef jerky in a way that they never have before.

The main reasons for the growing popularity of beef jerky are probably a mixture of health concerns and convenience. Busy people need something to eat that doesn’t require preparation, and beef jerky fits the bill perfectly when you’re craving meat. The vast majority of jerky sales come from convenience stores and grocery stores, and everyone seems to agree that these are the two main markets. Convenience stores sell a lot more beef jerky than anyone else, with grocery stores being a close second.

Many beef industry publications have noticed the rise in popularity that beef jerky has enjoyed in recent years. This article from Beef magazine says beef jerky may soon overtake potato chips as America’s number one snack. Potato chips have long been the favorite snack foods, especially from convenience store sales. However, beef jerky sales are rising at a high rate while potato chip sales have remained relatively flat.


It is obvious that beef jerky is only going to become more popular. With millions of people eating jerky on a regular basis and billions of dollars being made, there is no reason to assume that the upward trend will not continue. This product has a natural advantage over other convenience foods because jerky offers actual nutritional sustenance. As such, it’s encouraging to see that people are getting a little smarter on this subject.

"You might be a redneck if you think that beef jerky and moon pies are two of the major food groups."
-- Jeff Foxworthy

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