Packing a punch

by Ryan Atkinson
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Snacking is on the rise as consumers trend away from the traditional three large daily meals and toward a grazing mentality. But many of those consumers are picky about what they nibble on throughout the day. With this rise in health consciousness, the market places a premium on snacks that can provide a desirable taste and experience while also packing a nutritional punch.

Meat Chips hopes to land right in that sweet spot.  Danny Fillmore, CEO and founder of Meat Chips, Tempe, AZ, saw his parents deal with cancer and diabetes and then, after a trip to Natural Products Expo West in 2008, he recognized that the national image of foods began to shift.

“I wanted to create foods and beverages that will allow us to indulge but still get honest nourishment,” Mr. Fillmore said. “Consumers are becoming more aware of what they eat. They want to be able to read an ingredient panel and understand it.”

Mr. Fillmore then started down a path that led to the creation of Meat Chips, a ­tortilla-like chip that is made with all-natural chicken. Each 2.6-oz bag provides as much protein (21 g) as many protein shakes. That alone makes the product a first-of-its-kind offering — a source of energy in the form of a traditional snack food.

“Energy drinks have their highs and then a hard crash, and beef jerky gives you protein along with loads of unwanted fat,” Mr. Fillmore said. “And then there are Meat Chips, which give you natural protein and energy that sustain your energy levels throughout the day. We didn’t want to produce healthier, protein-based snacks that had a bland taste and were unfulfilling.”

Positive reception from the Gluten Free and Allergen Friendly Expo in 2014 led to a boost in interest and talks with nationwide grocery chains. Mr. Fillmore said that the changing world culture, an emphasis on healthy eating and a product name that can lead to dominant brand recognition has helped Meat Chips create a huge buzz.

The family-owned company rolled out the product in stores on Jan. 1 in Tempe, AZ, and is in the process of planning a national expansion. The chips were originally made with turkey meat, but chicken took over as the main ingredient in 2014. “Chicken is the leanest form of protein available,” Mr. Fillmore said.

Meat Chips currently offers four flavors — Nacho, Ranch, Pepper and Salsa — and new flavors, along with new marketing campaigns, are planned for the near future. The $2.99 bags are currently available at www.meatchips.com along with local availability in greater Phoenix area c-stores.

“We believe our product is not just a healthy chip but can also become a lifestyle to healthy eating,” Mr. Fillmore said. “Year after year, the snacking categories grow at a fast rate, especially meat and salty snack products. Our product, we believe, can become the forefront of the snack industry.”

 

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