Demand for sausage is surging in grocery meat cases, and suppliers are ready to meet it, with new products and increased production.

Eckrich offers a variety of smoked sausage items, including an assortment of skinless and natural casing products, which range from smoked sausage ropes and links to breakfast smoked sausage and Li’l Smokies cocktail smoked sausages.

In 2024, Eckrich is launching a new Natural Casing Andouille Smoked Sausage, which features bold Cajun flavors, said Madeline Schnuck, brand manager.

The company also recently refreshed its packaging to include recipes featuring smoked sausage for any meal occasion.

What helps set Eckrich apart from other sausage producers is its “range of versatility,” Schnuck said.

The company offers fully cooked smoked sausage options that are simply ready to heat and eat, and easy to add to any recipe as a great source of protein for a time-saving solution.

And Eckrich products come in a wide range of flavors, Schnuck said, including 4 Pepper, Jalapeno & Cheddar, Polska Kielbasa and Maple, and a variety of turkey and beef smoked sausages.

Eckrich products are also a great option in a time of high food prices, she added.

“With the ever-changing market and inflation being a very prevalent concern for consumers, Eckrich continues to be an affordable mealtime solution that’s budget-friendly and perfect for busy households.”

Now trending 

Simple ingredients, snacking and regional flavors are three of the big recent trends in the fresh sausage category, said Patrick Fleming, new business development manager for Midan Marketing.

And then there’s one perennial trend that never seems to change.

“In the realm of sausages, it’s all about the value it provides consumers,” Fleming said. “Whether that’s at the center of the plate or as an ingredient, sausage is an easy way to add protein into a meal.”

Another trend to always keep an eye on in the sausage category is unique flavors, and this year, expect a lot of flavors that don’t skip on the heat, Fleming said.

Two examples are Johnsonville’s seasonal firecracker brats and Hatch green chile brats.

In addition, he said, local sausage companies are expanding and putting a “hot” regional twist on classic sausages like andouille sausage and hot links, both fresh and smoked.

The growing appeal of snacking, meanwhile, is accompanied by a heightened consumer realization that sausages — summer sausage, for example — can be enjoyed across various day parts, Fleming said.

Sausage featured in new Travis Kelce BBQ line

Sausage products are among the items in Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce’s new line of refrigerated entrees.

Kelce’s partnership with Golden West Food Group, known as Travis Kelce’s Kitchen, includes seven products overall, including two sausage products:

BBQ Baked Beans with Sausage – savory baked black beans and white kidney beans enhanced with a smoky barbecue flavor, sweetened with brown sugar and enriched with bacon and aromatic onions, complemented by tender pork sausage.

Sausage and Meatball Marinara with Peppers and Onions – sliced pork sausage accompanies cheesy pork and beef meatballs submerged in a marinara sauce sauteed with bell peppers and onions.

All items are available at select Walmart stores in the South and East regions.

A portion of the proceeds from Travis Kelce’s Kitchen will be donated to Eighty-Seven & Running, an organization founded by Kelce that provides mentorship, training, motivation and opportunities for underprivileged youth.

“I’m thrilled to partner with Golden West Food Group for Travis Kelce’s Kitchen,” Kelce said. “Together we are bringing the heart and soul of Kansas City into every dish. With sales supporting Eighty-Seven & Running, each meal is a taste of our city and a step toward empowering underprivileged youth. We are not just bringing Kansas City BBQ to the table but also making a difference.”

This article is an excerpt from the March 2024 issue of Supermarket Perimeter. You can read the entire Sausage feature and more in the digital edition here.