OUR ORIGIN STORY (IN A NUTSHELL)
Inspired on a kayaking trip in Austin in 2016, Diana Dussan decided she was going to invent a natural, plant-powered snack that would give back to the planet. Wanting to offer an alternative to the soy- and gluten-based, processed options on the market, Diana created a whole food jerky made from jackfruit that could be enjoyed by people of all diets.
Motivated by the realities and urgency she was facing as a soon-to-be single mom, and inspired to do more for the world, Diana overcame pregnancy-related complications and even worked 2 hours into labor to bring Snack Jack to fruition. In December of 2017, she teamed up with her brother Julian and launched at farmers markets in Austin, with plans to give back to their local community and ultimately be a positive influence on the world.
Exactly one year after launching at their first farmers market, they were approached by Whole Foods Market and named one of the "most buzz-worthy foods for 2019" by Food Network.
THE LONG VERSION
Diana Dussan invented Snack Jack in 2016, inspired by a life-changing 2-hour kayaking trip. By the time she got back on land, she'd decided to invent a product that would have a positive impact on the community and the environment. It would be a healthy, wholesome food made from natural, plant-powered ingredients. However, it would be another two weeks before the idea to turn jackfruit into jerky came to her as an epiphany. Diana had just spent the last several months experimenting with fruits and vegetables to get meat-like textures in her meals without the use of over-processed meat alternatives. This helped set the stage when her mom handed her an article she'd saved about using green jackfruit as a pulled pork substitute. One paragraph into the article the idea came to her. Jackfruit JERKY! She did a Google search and nothing came up. How was it that not a single blogger had come up with this yet? She got to work immediately! Within two hours she had the entire recipe planned out in her head and scored a used dehydrator for $20 on Offer Up to test her idea. It worked! A couple of days later Snack Jack was born.
Blown away by the meaty texture and flavor she achieved from jackfruit, she knew immediately that she had her product. However, if she was going to make an impact, she needed to create a food that would be loved by everyone, so to test it, she thought, it had to be approved by meat-eaters—not vegans. That first bag went to the person she knew would be her harshest critic—Dave—her 60-something retired military, anti-anything-vegan, mountain man of a stepdad. Out running errands with her mom and Dave one day, she handed him the bag of jerky without any context. He assumed it was regular ol' jerky, ate it, loved it, and went back for more. Diana confessed that it wasn't meat and he didn't believe it. He couldn't wrap his head around the notion that this peppery, meaty jerky was vegan. Perhaps if he had, he may have stopped, but he didn't. He ate the whole bag. She knew for certain that if Dave liked it, anyone could! She spent the next few months perfecting the recipe and sending it around the country to friends and friends of friends who were heavy meat-eaters, hunters, meat processors, and jerky producers. Each person was given a bag without any context. Time and time again the reaction was the same!
SAYING GOODBYE TO SOY, GLUTEN, NUTS & SUGAR
Since its inception, Snack Jack has undergone many iterations to make it as inclusive as possible so that people of all diets can enjoy it. The Snack Jack we know and love today isn't the original recipe. Half way through recipe trials, Diana was put on a soy-free, gluten-free, dairy-free doctor-prescribed diet—a last resort to treat a handful of debilitating autoimmune disorders she'd suffered from for the past 15 years. The diet worked! Within three months, her gut was healed and her autoimmune disorders were a thing of the past. However, during that time, Diana found out first-hand just how difficult it can be for people with diet restrictions to find quick, grab-and-go snacks. After all, she couldn't even taste her own product anymore! That's when she went back to the drawing board. She scrapped the entire recipe and created a food that everyone could eat—an all-in-one grab-n-go snack and quick meal that is completely free of the top 8 food allergens and triggers! Dozens of recipe trials later, Snack Jack is now free of gluten, soy, nuts, and added sugar—a rarity among jerky of any kind!
UNITING FORCES & GOING TO MARKET
Just ahead of the product launch in December of 2017 and with baby Zlatan on the way, Diana teamed up with her brother Julian Dussan. Together they launched Snack Jack at farmers markets in Austin, with plans to give back to their local community and ultimately be a positive influence on the world. This sibling team combines a unique background in culinary arts, graphic design, video, animation, hospitality, copywriting, education, advertising, marketing, nonprofit, and farm animal welfare. They hope to leverage their diverse skill sets and experience to make a major impact on this planet and use Snack Jack as a force for good.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Since December 2018, Diana and Julian started selling online and in local stores in Austin. As of January 2019, they expanded to small natural and plant-based stores from Portland to New York.
Since its launch, Snack Jack has had a super positive reception and has been fortunate to receive several write ups. Food Network Magazine's January issue named Snack Jack one of the “most buzz-worthy foods for 2019" and “the latest innovation in high-quality snacking!” Since launching in stores in January of 2019, they've received several awards as well. Check out their Press page here for more info.
HELP US GROW
Step 1: Launch product in local farmers' markets - COMPLETED DECEMBER 2017.
Step 2: Build a commercial kitchen - COMPLETED OCTOBER 2018.
Step 3: Open online sales - COMPLETED DECEMBER 2018
Step 4: Launch in small, local retailers - COMPLETED DECEMBER 2018 - We just launched at our first store!
Step 5: Expand to small, local retailers across the country - ONGOING SINCE JANUARY 2019
Step 5: Expand to large, national retailers - WORKING ON IT :) - But as of September 2019, we're in 44 stores in 10 states!
Step 6: Build a relationship with a farm and source from this side of the world - ALMOST THERE! IN FINAL TALKS WITH A SMALL FAMILY FARM IN YUCATAN REGION, MEXICO, EXPECTED FALL 2019
Step 7: Shhh... it's a secret! But we can say that we have BIG plans for the future, which focus on giving back to communities and the environment.
Any and all donations we receive will go toward taking Snack Jack™ to the next level. Thank you in advance for your support!