After a trip to Malaysia to visit family back in 2008, Michael Pan returned to the States not only with memories of good travels, but also with a family recipe he couldn’t wait to share with the world. Handed down through his family for decades with roots in Asian and Buddhist cultures, Michael was sure his family’s mushroom jerky recipe would be a hit with herbivores and carnivores alike. After importing mushroom jerky to the U.S., cultivating a packaged product for grocers to sell, and building a dedicated fan base, Michael launched Pan’s Mushroom Jerky–a company to carry on the legacy of his family’s food tradition.
As the company hits its tenth year, I chatted with Michael to find out more about this unique product and where he plans to take mushroom jerky next.
“Our product is pretty unique, with a unique history and authenticity. The base is made of shiitake mushrooms that we don’t mix with meat or soy, which has helped us put out a really good product,” Michael tells me. “We’re trying to make a new category, and we’re excited to lead that category with a product that not only vegans, but everyone can enjoy. So far, we’ve had a lot of people who never considered mushroom jerky or who thought they wouldn’t like it, really enjoy it. And we’re starting to see this enthusiasm in our online sales as well.”
Sweet, savory, and sustainable, Pan’s Mushroom Jerky is available now in two perfectly crafted flavors–Original Vegetarian in 2.5 ounces and Vegan Zesty Thai in 2.2 ounces. And, not only is the jerky vegan and vegetarian friendly, it is also Paleo friendly and gluten-free, with no preservatives or cholesterol, and an excellent source of Vitamin D.
“We’re currently updating our original recipe in order to ensure we’re using top-quality, organic, and vegan ingredients,” Michael shares. “While our original recipe is vegetarian, we’ve made the switch to chia seeds, avocado oil, Himalayan sea salt, and organic coconut sugar to work to make our recipe organic.”
Michael also tells me the company wants to expand its mushroom jerky line and is on the hunt for interesting new flavors to include, like Teriyaki, Korean Barbeque, and more. And, as demand rises with popularity, Pan’s Mushroom Jerky is also working to increase its packaging sizes and change its branding to attract a wider audience. Maintaining the classic style of the original bag, the redesigned packaging is clean and simple with a modern twist.
With lots in the works, I ask what we can expect from Pan’s Mushroom Jerky in the future–according to Michael, it might not just be mushroom jerky!
“There are other unique products around the country and the world that people don’t know about, and we would love to bring them to customers,” Michael reveals. “Our company vision is to find these healthy and natural products and bring them to the market.”
Innovation is changing today’s food for the better, and Pan’s Mushroom jerky is blending this innovation with a timeless recipe that is bringing us back to the roots of good, healthy eating.
For more on what’s inspiring change in deli, dairy, and bakery, stay up-to-date with Deli Market News.