- Beyond the Shoreline, a New York City-based start-up, is launching kelp jerky in January of 2018, according to Food Navigator. The plant-based jerky consists of sugar kelp, mushroom stems, brown rice flour, sea salt, pea protein, and nutritional yeast.
- One serving of kelp jerky would provide 8 grams of protein, and is described as having a chewy texture with a savory taste. Three flavors will be offered: Sea Salt, BBQ, and High Thai-d.
- Kelp jerky will be sold at a cost of $3.99 for 1.5 ounces. Recipes are also in development to expand to sausages, burgers, instant seaweed stews, and vegan bone broth.
Kelp jerky sounds like it might be a stretch for the snack industry. Then again, the same might have been said about seaweed snacks a decade ago. Today, they’re sold in every major U.S. retailer, so kelp jerky just may have a shot to make it.
The plant-based jerky will likely start out as a niche product for adventurous foodies, but has the potential to go more mainstream. Consumers are increasingly trying plant-based products, for both ethical and nutritional reasons. Plus, jerky as a category has seen tremendous growth in recent years as consumers increasingly look for ways to snack. This could create the perfect environment for kelp jerky to cross over to mainstream consumers.
There are a number of plant-based jerkies on the market. There’s Cocoburg’s Coconut Jerky, Lightlife Meatless Smart Jerky, Louisville Vegan Jerky, Power Plant Organic Eggplant Jerky, and Primal Strips Meatless Vegan Jerky, just to name a few. As manufacturers innovate with creative plant-based ingredients, expect this category to grow to meet consumer demand for fake meat jerky.
Beyond the Shoreline’s kelp jerky is described as having a chewy texture and savory flavor. It would more strongly resemble meat jerky than a seaweed snack, and is meant to share shelf space with traditional jerkies.
It also has the potential to pack quite a nutritional punch. Sugar kelp, which is farmed off the Northeast coast of the U.S., is naturally high in fiber, contains vitamins and other beneficial nutrietns. The jerky snack also is high in protein with 8 grams a serving, and low in sugar and fat.
As powerful as the plant-based movement is right now, kelp jerky may have trouble during its initial launch. Consumers have proven they’re willing to try new flavors and textures, like with seaweed snacks, but this may be one step too far. That said, all three flavors are currently sold out in pre-order on Beyond the Shoreline’s website. On the upside, the kelp jerky is shelf-stable for up to a year, which may be how long it will take for the rest of consumers to give kelp a chance. It remains to be see if the product will be able to branch out beyond the early adapters, a crucial factor that will likely dictate the long-term success of this product.