KRAVE Jerky – So Tender It’s Giving Jerky a Gourmet MakeoverDec 12th, 2011 | By Lulu del Rosario | Category: Food & Wine, Gourmet Pantry
A couple of weeks ago, I was asked if I was interested in tasting a new brand of jerky that was soon to be available in my grocery store. My reply was a quick and easy yes; my husband loves to munch on jerky when he is nervously watching a game, or even sometimes on his drive home from work. We’d pretty much checked out all the regularly available known brands (the usual suspects) in the grocery stores and have ruled out all but one familiar brand that did not cause what we have come to refer to as ‘jaw fatigue‘. Still, jerky was good for my manly man, but I could only handle small bitsy pieces. It was a guy treat as far as I was concerned. Until KRAVE.
Seven flavors arrived and we were thrilled, bite after
easy tender and exciting bite. And we are still applauding each flavor as we check them out.
Jon Sebastiani, founder and CEO of KRAVE, was born into a lauded Sonoma County wine family. He grew up working in and surrounded by the culinary and wine industry. The idea for KRAVE actually came about unexpectedly. Jon is also a runner and as he trained for the New York marathon, he was seeking a healthy, high-protein snack and came to appreciate the merits of jerky and, in turn, the need for a more innovative jerky product. What was available were the same old-same old few brands that were leather-like, thus the ‘reputation’ of jerky per se. Tough, hard to gnaw or chew on, but protein nonetheless. After pondering this void in a historical and widely appreciated market of jerky fans, he decided to up the ante on jerky and fill a need in this sleepy market sector – hence the creation of KRAVE Jerky!
I chatted briefly with Jon to get his take on his company, his vision and that of his co-founder ~ Jens Hoj ~ to change how jerky as a snack should be perceived. It is by far the most tender and flavorful jerky we’ve ever tasted. Period. I told you we got seven flavors to try. That’s not all they have, and they’re always inventing flavors. Tender turkey and fun to chew seeped-in-flavor beef jerky.
Did I mention tender? Cue the headlines.
KRAVE Jerky Hits the Scene to Redefine Snack Food, Disrupt the Meat Snacks Category and Elevate a Low-Brow Favorite
We had Viansa from when I was a teenager. I helped my family build it and then worked there into my under graduate years until our family sold it six years ago. I’m glad you know about Viansa because you’ll understand our level of appreciation and passion for the range of flavors in wine and food, particularly in food. My mom was chef in the family and I grew up with a wooden spoon and we always enjoyed the food end of the business. As I was parallel tracking and preparing for marathons and triathlons and finding foods that were conducive to a work out preparatory diet, I found myself consuming jerky because it’s a good source of protein, good for the buildup of muscles and it is low in calories and fat and so on.
As a student of entrepreneurship ~ and I consider myself an entrepreneur by passion ~ I found something missing. Good jerky did not exist in the grocery level channel and to make things opportunistic for me, what was available was garbage jerky. There’s a consumer misconception about jerky too. Jerky isn’t junk food, it isn’t not loaded in hormones, sodium and nitrates. I dug into the industry and the business and found it to be a nice sized business. I do have an MBA from Columbia so I’m sort of a student in understanding industry categories, so I wrote a business plan and tested my idea in a few stores 18 months ago and my theories have been correct. Consumers do like jerky and if you give them something that’s healthy, tender and with interesting flavors, they love it and they not only buy it once, they return again and again.We have been very pleased with our market adoption and we’ve gone from an idea to over 4000 stores. I’ve been in the Home Shopping Network and will have a new series with QVC for healthy snacking in January. We’re growing and introducing new flavors next year; new cuts of beef. We continue to wave the banner of jerky as a food rather than just promoting KRAVE. This is a fantastic health food and I spend a good amount comparing the nutritional information of our jerky versus a Power Bar or Healthy Baked and popped chips. We’re healthier than those things. I do that only to shake the mind of the consumer. Jerky is good for you. This category is a healthy snacking option.
We call it our core value proposition – that our jerky is tender. We are the tender brand. That is our key attribute.
C&A: How many flavors do you have and what is your bestseller?
Currently, there are 8 flavors: chili lime gourmet beef jerky, basil citrus gourmet turkey jerky, curry beef jerky, garlic chili pepper gourmet beef jerky, sweet honey chipotle gourmet beef jerky, lemon garlic turkey jerky, pineapple orange gourmet beef jerky, smoky grilled teriyaki pork gourmet jerky. More flavors will be available soon and all are excellent sellers right now.
C&A: Where can people buy Krave?
KRAVE Jerky is available online at www.kravejerky.com and in select specialty stores nationwide. Product is currently sold in the following states: AL, AK, AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MI, MO, MT, NC, NH,NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI, Guam and the District of Columbia.
KRAVE will become widely available in early 2012.
KRAVE Jerky is not the familiar gas station special – this all-natural, artisanal jerky has an elevated conscience. KRAVE imbues its products with the reverence for quality – from ingredients to process to packaging – expected of the world-class wine produced in neighboring vineyards. In lieu of the nitrates used by low-quality competitors, KRAVE uses celery root preserves to conserve moisture, resulting in a juicy meat product that is easy to tear and share with friends.
Nutritionally, per each 1 ounce serving, KRAVE contains only 70 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 9 grams of carbohydrates and at least 5 grams of protein. Due to its recipes, meat selection and cooking process, KRAVE’s products are materially lower in salt (50-70%), cholesterol (50-70%) and calories (15-70%) than its major competitors and are 97% fat free, so it provides a guilt-free way to snack and a great way to keep your diet in check.
And for those who would like to up the ante, a special program called KRAVE Klub is available as well. KRAVE Klub is a program that allows one to select five jerky flavors to be shipped to their home every month for only $30 (shipping is included). KRAVE offers innovative flavor selections including basil citrus and lemon garlic (turkey); chili lime, curry, garlic chili pepper and pineapple orange (beef); and smoky grilled teriyaki (pork). For inspiration, KRAVE Klub members also receive a recipe featuring the jerky – think: compound butters and meatloaf! There are also wine pairings and cocktail recommendations – such as the new complement to your Bloody Mary. To sign up and to read more about the KRAVE Klub program, click here: http://www.kravejerky.com/
Disclaimer: I received seven samples of KRAVE to try. I have since found them at my local grocery, purchased my own and have given them to family members to try. It’s THAT good!