Beef jerky company owner chasing bigger market share

Published Tuesday, February 12, 2019
by Molly M. Fleming

J.R. Towe wants a bigger slice of the beef jerky market.

In the last eight months, Towe has gone from being employed with an energy-related company to working full-time with his new business, The G.O.A.T. Beef Jerky Company. Goat stands for the Greatest Of All Time. Now he’s working on getting his product on retail-store shelves.

His storefront at 400 S. Vermont Ave. is in the same shopping center as H&H Shooting Sports, off Interstate 40.

“I’ve yet to have anyone tell me this isn’t the best beef jerky they’ve ever had,” Towe said.

He started making beef jerky as a hobby. When he asked people to try it, he wouldn’t tell him he made it because he wanted get a genuine review. After they raved about it, then he would say he made it.

He opened his shop on Dec. 3, though he said he never intended to have a retail storefront. He was more interested in the warehouse space.

He has benefited from the foot traffic, but he wants to sell his jerky to the whole world, he said. There’s a large market for it as protein-centric diets are trending.

“Consumers are eating up this ‘on-the-go’ snacking sub-category, to the tune of $1.1 billion,” said The Nielsen Company. “(Consumers’) hunger has grown the category at a compound annual growth rate of 10 percent between 2012 and 2016.

Beef jerky falls within the meat snack group, which has about $2.8 billion in sales as a category. It continued to have year-over-year sales growth for the last several years, according to Nielsen. From 2016 to 2017, jerky itself had a 7 percent increase in sales, with meat stick sales remaining flat in the same time period.

Towe’s company is still in its infancy. He signed his manufacturing deal before opening his storefront. The jerky is made in Las Vegas, Nevada. But having someone else make it saves on his operating costs. He said he doesn’t put a high margin on his beef jerky.

His product stands out from others in the category because of its texture, he said. It’s not press-formed meat. It’s whole-muscle beef jerky, yet it’s still tender.

Towe has gone all-in on his business. He has tapped some of his savings account and a retirement fund to get The G.O.A.T started. His wife, Veronica Towe, and their 14-year-old son are supporting him in this venture though.

“I think when you dive into something, you have to do it in a manner that works for your personality,” he said. “For me, I’m an ‘all-in’ kind of guy. It was a leap of faith.”

But the jerky is catching people’s attention on the internet. It has been reviewed by The jerky doesn’t have nitrates or preservatives, and has low sodium and sugar. The product has also been reviewed by where it received four out of five stars. Towe was especially proud of that review because the website is known for being critical.

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