How To Start Beef Jerky Business? (Fully Explained)

Are you a beef jerky enthusiast with a passion for creating your own unique flavors?

Have you ever considered turning that passion into a profitable business?

With the meat jerky production industry in the U.S. growing steadily year after year, now might be the perfect time to start your own beef jerky business.

But where do you begin?

In this guide, we’ll take you through the steps of starting your own beef jerky business, from analyzing the market and competition to securing financing and finding the right facility.

Whether you’re looking to sell your jerky in a brick-and-mortar store or online, we’ve got you covered.

So, let’s dive in and explore how you can turn your love for beef jerky into a successful business venture.

How To Start Beef Jerky Business?

Step 1: Analyze the Market and Competition

Before starting any business, it’s important to do your research and understand the market and competition. In the case of beef jerky, the market size in the U.S. is $1.4 billion in 2021, with an average annual growth rate of 0.9% between 2016 and 2021.

Take a look at your local area and see if there is a demand for beef jerky. Are there any existing businesses that sell beef jerky? If so, what sets your product apart from theirs?

Consider also the types of flavors and packaging that are popular in the market. This will help you create a unique product that stands out from the competition.

Step 2: Decide on Branding and Financing

Once you have a clear understanding of the market and competition, it’s time to decide on branding and financing. Will you create your own private label or purchase a franchise?

Financing is also an important consideration. You can use crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter or Go Fund Me to raise funds, or seek out investors or loans from banks or other financial institutions.

Step 3: Secure a Facility

To produce beef jerky for sale, you’ll need to secure a facility that meets food safety regulations. This could be a USDA-approved facility or an existing factory that produces beef jerky snacks.

Alternatively, you could purchase a beef jerky business for sale or rent a local commissary kitchen. Whatever option you choose, make sure it meets all necessary food safety regulations.

Step 4: Determine Your Sales Strategy

With your facility secured, it’s time to determine your sales strategy. Will you sell your beef jerky in a brick-and-mortar store, online, or both?

Consider partnering with grocery stores and local restaurants or selling at farmer’s markets to reach a wider audience. You could also start a subscription business and list your products online.

Step 5: Create Unique Flavors and Packaging

To stand out from the competition, it’s important to create unique flavors and packaging for your beef jerky. Experiment with different spices and marinades to create a product that is truly unique.

Packaging is also important as it can attract customers to your product. Consider using eye-catching designs and clear labeling to make your product stand out on store shelves.

Researching The Beef Jerky Market And Competition

Researching the beef jerky market and competition is a crucial step in starting a successful beef jerky business. The meat jerky industry has experienced rapid growth in recent years, and according to market research company Nielsen, grocery stores and mass merchants across Canada saw 15 percent dollar growth and 18 percent volume growth in meat snacks from 2017 to 2018. In the year up to September 2019, meat snack and beef jerky sales in Canada grew by 11 percent, compared to 5 percent growth in the sales value of salty snacks. This indicates that meat snacks and beef jerky are fast growing segments in Canada’s snacking categories.

Furthermore, the global beef jerky market is expected to exhibit a strong 6.6% CAGR over the forecast period from 2020 to 2028, according to the latest research report from Market Research Future. The global jerky market is expected to reach a valuation of USD 4.9 billion by 2028. These statistics show that there is a growing demand for beef jerky products, making it a potentially profitable market for new businesses.

In addition, it’s important to research the competition in your local area and beyond. Take a look at existing businesses that sell beef jerky and analyze their products, pricing, packaging, and marketing strategies. This will help you identify gaps in the market that you can fill with your unique product.

Krave is an example of a quality-focused brand that disrupted the beef jerky market with high-end products that emphasized quality and healthiness. They also innovated in flavoring, coming up with unique flavors like Sweet Chipotle and Black Cherry Barbeque. By analyzing successful brands like Krave, you can learn from their marketing strategies and apply them to your own business.

Creating A Unique Jerky Recipe And Brand Identity

Creating a unique jerky recipe and brand identity is crucial to standing out in the crowded beef jerky market. One example of a successful brand that has done this is Think Jerky, a Chicago-based company that makes grass-fed beef jerky and turkey jerky. They have differentiated themselves by collaborating with top-ranked chefs to create unique and flavorful recipes that appeal to a wide demographic of consumers, including women who are not typically the primary target for beef jerky.

When creating your own unique recipe, consider experimenting with different spices, marinades, and flavors to create a product that stands out from the competition. It’s important to keep in mind any dietary restrictions or preferences, such as gluten-free or low-carb options.

Along with the recipe, developing a strong brand identity is also important. Consider what sets your product apart from others in the market and how you can communicate that through your branding. Old Gambler, for example, has positioned themselves as a traditional brand with a “just meat and heat” approach to making beef jerky. This message is communicated through their branding and packaging design.

When creating your own brand identity, consider factors such as target audience, values, and messaging. Your branding should be consistent across all aspects of your business, including logo design, packaging design, copywriting, and overall creative strategy.

By creating a unique jerky recipe and brand identity, you can differentiate yourself from the competition and attract customers who are looking for something new and exciting in the beef jerky market.

Securing Financing For Your Beef Jerky Business

Securing financing for your beef jerky business is an essential step in starting your venture. There are various funding sources available, such as personal savings, angel investors, venture capital firms, small business loans, and crowdfunding. However, before seeking funding, it’s crucial to develop a comprehensive business plan and financial model. This will help potential investors understand your proposed venture and enable you to identify and explain your financial and capital needs.

Once you have developed a business plan and financial model, the next step is to identify the right funding sources that cater to businesses seeking funding for a beef jerky business. Networking with individuals in the industry can provide insider insights and feedback on various financial and investment products and firms. Identifying the right investors is crucial, as it can be the difference between success and failure in your pursuit of funding.

If you are looking to secure a small business loan, it’s important to develop a more detailed business plan and financial model. You should also build a financial track record and credit score. Understanding the costs and benefits of different loan products, such as SBA loans, is also important. You should prepare documentation to support your loan application, such as income statements, business licenses and permits, tax returns, and other paperwork.

Other financing options you may want to consider include angel investors, venture capitalists, and crowdfunding. Each option has its pros and cons, so it’s essential to evaluate each one carefully to determine which is the best fit for your particular business. Angel investors and venture capitalists may be more willing to invest in a business with a clear, comprehensive plan and financial model. Crowdfunding may be a better option for a business with a target consumer base that can be reached via social media.

In addition to securing financing, it’s important to consider insurance protection for your business. This can include product liability insurance, which defends against claims of disease or damage caused by the usage of your goods, as well as liability insurance that safeguards your company in the event of mishaps or injuries.

Finding The Right Facility For Production And Packaging

When it comes to producing and packaging beef jerky, finding the right facility is crucial. You have a few options to consider, depending on your budget and resources.

One option is to set up your own USDA-approved facility to produce beef jerky snacks. This will require significant investment in equipment and infrastructure, as well as hiring staff to operate the facility. However, it will give you full control over the production process and allow you to ensure that all food safety regulations are met.

Another option is to get an existing factory to produce your beef jerky for you. This can be a more cost-effective option, as you won’t need to invest in equipment or infrastructure. However, you’ll need to do your due diligence in finding a reputable factory that meets all necessary food safety regulations.

If you don’t have the resources to set up your own facility or work with an existing factory, you could look into renting a local commissary kitchen or purchasing a beef jerky business for sale. These options may be more affordable, but you’ll still need to ensure that all food safety regulations are met.

No matter which option you choose, it’s important to prioritize food safety and quality in your production process. This includes regular testing for safety and compliance with all government regulations and approvals. By investing in the right facility and processes, you can ensure that your beef jerky business is successful and sustainable in the long run.

Obtaining Legal Permits And Licenses For Selling Jerky

Before you start selling beef jerky, it’s important to obtain the necessary legal permits and licenses. The regulations for selling beef jerky can vary depending on your location and the type of business you plan to operate.

If you plan to sell directly to customers at local markets or events, you may not need state licensing. Instead, you will typically be regulated by your local health department. However, if you plan to sell to retail stores or distributors, you will generally need state licensing through your state’s Department of Agriculture.

It’s also important to note that in most states, jerky is not allowed to be sold under cottage food laws. This means that if you plan to sell beef jerky, you will need to obtain the necessary permits and licenses.

To obtain the necessary permits and licenses, it’s recommended that you draft a business plan that includes legal aspects such as business licenses and permits. Decide whether you want to operate as a sole proprietor or set up a limited liability company (LLC). You may also start a partnership if you’re going into business with a friend or family member.

If you’re planning to operate your own jerky production facility, you will need an electric smoker, commercial dehydrators, trays and slicers, jerky guns, vacuum sealers and more. Reach out to local farms and wholesale spice distributors to get the ingredients needed for the job. Estimate the costs involved and apply for a small business loan if necessary.

Selling your homemade beef jerky online may be difficult as many states restrict the sale of unregulated food items across state lines. It’s important to check with your state’s regulations before selling online.

Developing A Marketing Strategy To Promote Your Beef Jerky

Developing a marketing strategy is crucial to promote your beef jerky business and attract customers. Here are some key steps to consider:

1. Leverage Digital Marketing: In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is essential. Create a website and social media accounts for your business, and use them to showcase your unique flavors and packaging. Consider running paid advertising campaigns on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to reach a wider audience.

2. Engage with Customers: Engage with your customers both online and in-person. Respond to their comments and reviews on social media, and offer promotions or discounts to encourage repeat business.

3. Offer Samples: Offering samples of your beef jerky is a great way to get customers to try your product and potentially make a purchase. Consider offering samples at local events or in-store promotions.

4. Create an In-Store Experience: Make sure your store or booth is visually appealing, with clear signage and packaging that stands out. Consider offering in-store promotions or events to attract customers.

5. Partner with Influencers: Partnering with influencers in the food or fitness industry can help promote your beef jerky business to a wider audience. Reach out to influencers on social media and offer them free samples in exchange for promoting your product.

By following these marketing strategies, you can effectively promote your beef jerky business and attract more customers. Remember to continuously evaluate and adjust your marketing plan based on customer feedback and market trends.