Looking for a healthy snack that is low in fat and calories, high in protein and a bit more tantalizing for the taste buds than your average nutrition bar? Try jerky, says the entrepreneur behind one of the most successful recent entrants to the US food and beverage market.
But forget the dry, leathery, additive-laden trucker’s fare you find at the gas station, says KRAVE Jerky founder Jon Sebastiani, who started selling his moist, whole-muscle cut products seriously in 2011 and is now in 20,000+ stores.
KRAVE - which is marketed more like Godiva chocolate than Slim Jim - comes in gourmet flavors from ‘basil citrus turkey’; and ‘black cherry barbecue pork’; to ‘pineapple orange beef’, a “Hawaiian-inspired offering of tender top round sirloin domestic beef marinated in a blend of sweet orange, pineapple and tropical fruit”.
If the latter sounds more like something you'd find at a fancy restaurant than a gas station, that’s because to Sebastiani - who worked in the family wine business in Sonoma, California, before turning his entrepreneurial talents to meat snacks - premium jerky is every bit as enticing as good wine.
“On the one hand, everyone knows what jerky is, which is good, but on the other hand, the fact everyone knows what jerky is has also been the challenge, because people that know what it is have a negative perception of it, and we’ve had to overcome that.”