|Product type Jerky sticks|
|Owner ConAgra Brands|
Tagline Snap into a Slim Jim
|Introduced 1929; 88 years ago (1929)|
Previous owners General Mills GoodMark Foods, Inc.
Slim Jim is an American brand of jerky snacks or dried sausage sold globally and manufactured by ConAgra Foods. They are widely available and popular in the United States, with 2015 revenues of $575 million. About 500 million are produced annually in at least 21 varieties.
The Slim Jim was first invented by Adolph Levis in 1929 in Philadelphia, although he and his partner subsequently hired a meatpacker to develop the product for production in the 1940s. He later sold the company in 1967 for about $20 million to General Mills, who moved the operations to Raleigh, North Carolina, and merged them into other meatpacking operations that it renamed Goodmark Foods. He sold Goodmark in 1982 to a group led by Ron Doggett. ConAgra bought Goodmark in 1998.
The product Levis created is different from the one produced since the 1990s, with Lon Adams developing the current Slim Jim recipe while working for Goodmark. Slim Jim is an example of a food product which is listed as containing mechanically separated chicken in its ingredients by requirement of the USDA.
Production was interrupted after an explosion and fire on June 17, 2008, destroyed the packaging operations of the formerly sole Garner, North Carolina, manufacturing facility, but has since resumed there and in Troy, Ohio. On May 20, 2011, the facility in Garner closed, the same day that the company´s former spokesman "Macho Man" Randy Savage died.
Until 2000, advertising for the product included commercials that featured professional wrestler "Macho Man" Randy Savage, who served as spokesperson. Each commercial would close with Savage bellowing "Need a little excitement? Snap into a Slim Jim!" Other notable spokespersons have included rapper Vanilla Ice and wrestlers The Ultimate Warrior, Bam Bam Bigelow, Kevin Nash, and Edge.
The advertising campaign was developed at North Castle Partners in Greenwich, Connecticut, by Tom Leland and Roger Martensen, under the creative direction of Hal Rosen. The "Snap Into A Slim Jim" concept was originally intended for comedian Sam Kinison, but he declined. Hal Rosen then suggested using WWF wrestlers, and The Ultimate Warrior was selected for the kickoff spot. In addition to a TV spot, the Ultimate Warrior also recorded several radio commercials for Slim Jim in 1991.
A subsequent campaign featured Slim Jim Guy (played by actor Demetri Goritsas in a giant Slim Jim costume, proclaiming "Eat me!" These ads personified the irreverent personality of the brand and were also from North Castle Partners.
Slim Jim advertisements were also heavily featured on MTV, ESPN, WWF, and Disney Channel. Slim Jim was one of the earliest sponsors of the ASA Pro Tour (the aggressive inline skating tour) from 1997 - 2000. The ASA Pro Tour was a qualifier for ESPN's X Games.
In 2005, Slim Jim advertising featured the Fairy Snapmother, described in a ConAgra press release as "a character resembling a tattooed rocker with wings - and a familiar MTV-type of humor young males enjoy."
Another campaign depicted hunters hunting a fictitious "Snapalope" within convenience stores using urban camouflage. The Snapalope is a deer-like puppet made from Slim Jims.
In 2008, Slim Jim launched the website "SpicySide.com", encouraging consumers to get in touch with their "Spicy Side" by creating an avatar and fighting their friends in an online landscape called Spicy Town. Slim Jim also partnered with a well known Machinima artist Myndflame to develop a World of Warcraft parody.
Slim Jim sponsored Bobby Labonte and David Green when they won the NASCAR Busch Series championship in 1991 and 1994, respectively.
The current spokesperson is retired WWE Superstar Edge, who is featured in their current advertising campaign. The commercials feature Edge waiting for various services, accompanied by his "Spicy Side", a mischievous imp version of Edge, who terrorizes everyone after biting a Slim Jim.
A 2009 Wired article listed some of the ingredients as beef, mechanically separated chicken, lactic acid starter culture, dextrose, salt, sodium nitrite and hydrolyzed soy. They note that although ConAgra refers to Slim Jim as a "meat stick", it resembles a fermented sausage, such as salami or pepperoni, which uses bacteria and sugar to produce lactic acid, lowering the pH of the sausage to around 5.0 and firming up the meat.
Sodium nitrite is added to prevent the meat from turning gray, and the hydrolyzed soy is a form of monosodium glutamate.
Product line, varieties
Slim Jim has launched several spin-off products of its main brand. These products are often of higher quality than the original Slim Jim, using premium meats. Such products include both tender steak strips and beef jerky.
The tender steak strips come in three flavors. Its companion beef jerky comes in three flavors: an original flavor and two spicy flavors.