Hershey steps outside the candy aisle with Krave jerkyPennsylvania-based chocolate giant The Hershey Company announced plans to acquire KRAVE Pure Foods, Inc., a manufacturer of KRAVE jerky, in a transaction that will allow the company to break into the growing meat snacks category.

“KRAVE jerky is a great fit to our portfolio and overall snacks and adjacencies strategy,” said Michele G. Buck, Hershey’s president of North America. “The KRAVE brand delivers on portable and protein nutrition while also understanding consumers’ food preferences, including the desire for simple ingredients and transparency, something that is also a part of Hershey’s strategic vision. We are excited to add KRAVE jerky’s unique, chef-inspired products and be a part of this transformational category.”

KRAVE was founded in 2009 by Jonathan Sebastiani and is now the fastest-growing sub-segment of the estimated $2.5 billion US meat snacks category, according to Hershey. The brand’s jerky takes a unique approach to flavor, offing varieties such as Black Cherry Barbeque Pork Jerky, Basil Citrus Turkey Jerky and Chili Lime Beef Jerky.

 “An important focus of KRAVE jerky’s business strategy is to push the boundaries within our category and to stay on top of ever-changing consumer needs,” Sebastiani said. “Joining the Hershey family will extend our resources for innovation and expand KRAVE jerky’s presence in the larger healthy snacking category.”