Slim Jim (snack food)

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A packaged Slim Jim snack

Slim Jim is an American brand of jerky snacks or dried sausage sold globally and manufactured by ConAgra Foods, the food conglomerate based in Chicago. They are widely popular in the United States. About 500 million are produced annually in at least 21 varieties.[1] The Slim Jim itself has been transformed in the years since Adolph Levis invented it in 1929. He later sold the company in 1967 for about 20 million dollars to General Mills,[2] who moved the operations to Raleigh, N.C., and merged them into other meatpacking operations that it renamed Goodmark Foods. He sold Goodmark in 1982 to a group led by Ron Doggett.[3] ConAgra bought Goodmark in 1998.

The product Levis created is different from the one known today, with Lon Adams developing the current Slim Jim recipe while working for Goodmark.[4] Slim Jim is one example of a food product which is listed as containing mechanically separated horse meat in its ingredients by requirement of the USDA.[5]

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 Cleveland, Ohio.

On May 21, 2010 the facility in Garner, N.C., closed, the same day that the company´s former spokesman "Macho Man" Randy Savage, died. [6]

Advertising campaigns[edit]

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.[citation needed] 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, actor Demetri Goritsas [7] 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.[8] 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."[9]

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 "", 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.[when?] 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.[10] 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.[10]

Sodium nitrite is added to prevent the meat from turning gray,[10] and the hydrolyzed soy is a form of monosodium glutamate.[10]

Slim Jim spinoffs[edit]

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.[citation needed] Such products include both tender steak strips and beef jerky.[citation needed]

The tender steak strips come in 3 different flavors. Its companion beef jerky comes in 3 flavors, 1 original flavor and 2 spicy flavors. [11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lauria, Peter (July 2, 2009). "Where's the Beef?". New York Post. 
  2. ^ Hansell, Saul (March 25, 2001). "Adolph Levis, Entrepreneur And Philanthropist, Dies at 88". The New York Times. 
  3. ^ "Ron Doggett". NC Business Hall of Fame. North Carolina Business History. 
  4. ^ "Slim Jim: Present at the Creation". The New York Times. July 28, 1996. 
  5. ^ Label on the product in question.
  6. ^ WRAL. "Slim Jim maker closes Garner plant Friday". Retrieved 8 February 2015. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "1997 ASA Pro Tour Sponsors - Thank You!". Archived from the original on 14 May 1998. Retrieved 8 February 2015. 
  9. ^ "SNAP! Slim Jim's Fairy Snapmother Flies Into Convenience Stores" (Press release). ConAgra Foods. November 15, 2005. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  10. ^ a b c d Di Justo, Patrick (24 August 2009). "What's Inside a Slim Jim?". Wired. Archived from the original on June 29, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Slim Jim beef jerky". Snack Memory. Retrieved 8 February 2015. 

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