Texas might be known for its BBQ, chicken-fried steak or chili, but food innovators in the Lone Star State are making their mark with meat-free products inspired by the local culinary landscape. All Y’alls Foods, in one case, takes the traditionally animal-based jerky product and creates it with plant-based foods instead. Brett Christoffel started the company based on his passion and love for animals. As a Native Texan, when he realized that the state’s greatest dietary export is beef, rather than complain about it, he decided to make a change.
Today, Christoffel’s company forgoes the beef in its line of jerkies, called “It’s Jerky Y’All,” in favor of non-GMO soybeans and other ingredients. The company says it doesn’t use chemicals to separate the soy in any way, and the plant-based jerky is “clean, kind protein you can count on.” Beyond soybeans, the jerky includes a variety of ingredients such as prickly pear syrup. (The company uses the prickly pear because it is the Texas state plant.)
In another nod to the Lone Star State’s geographical landscape, each of the company’s flavors represents a different region in the state. For instance, the black pepper and sea salt variety is inspired by the Texas gulf coast. “That’s the most traditional jerky flavor,” Christoffel, who is also the company’s CEO, told PYMNTS in an interview. For consumers who are new to plant-based foods, that is the variety he suggests they try. The company also offers a prickly pear teriyaki flavor of jerky, which represents the state’s prairies and lakes. The South Texas plains are also represented with the prickly pear chipotle flavor, which contains a bit of sweet and heat.
Consumers can buy multi-packs of the flavors on the company’s website, or they can try the different flavor varieties with sampler packs.
All Y’alls Foods’ target market is broader than just vegetarians. While its main focus includes fellow vegans, vegetarians, pescatarians and flexitarians – health-conscious consumers who want a clean source of protein – Christoffel said his intention in creating the product was to educate the “underinformed.” He also noted that some meat-eaters, like his own sister in law, also enjoy the product. (The jerky can be added to different types of recipes, such as lemongrass “beef” spring rolls.)
As the company points out,“going meatless lets you skip saturated fats and cholesterol plus any hormones, antibiotics, bacteria, parasites or carcinogens associated with animal proteins.” To get the word out about its products and educate the market, All Y’alls Foods is working with a few moderate influencers, who might have 25,000 to 50,000 social media followers. Christoffel said that the firm can cost-effectively engage in that type of marketing. The company is also focusing on attending more events and festivals.
All Y’alls Foods sells three-packs and six-packs of its jerky through its website, and also offers two-packs and three-packs on Amazon. It is powered by Shopify and accepts credit card payments. Beyond eCommerce, consumers can check the website to find local stores that carry its products in cities such as Austin, New York City and Denver.
Beyond All Y’alls Foods, other innovators are making plant-based jerkies out of all sorts of ingredients. Pan’s Mushroom Jerky, in one case, sells a few varieties of mushroom flavors online with an option for subscriptions, and it also has products in brick-and-mortar locations. The base of the product is shiitake mushrooms, which Founder Michael Pan says is one of the heartier, meatier varieties. As Pan told PYMNTS in a previous interview, it’s important to get the right texture, and using the shiitakes allows them to achieve that.
From mushrooms to soy, plant-based innovators are offering alternative jerkies that don’t require consumers to compromise on flavor – or cultural pride.