Business and Professional
July 1, 2015
CHICAGO (June 2015) - Ricky Hirsch, founder of Chicago-based Think Jerky, has already proven he's a savvy entrepreneur by developing the first line of chef-crafted, artisan beef jerky that is truly in step with today's food preferences protein-rich and all natural, containing no glutens, hormones nor antibiotics. "Think healthy, think delicious, think jerky!" exclaimed Hirsch.
Think Jerky is the first company of its kind to develop jerky recipes that are created by tapping the culinary finesse of award-winning chefs. Hirsch has partnered with Chef/Partners Laurent Gras (awarded three Michelin stars while chef at L20), James Beard award winning Gale Gand (Food Network, Tru, SpritzBurger) and Chicago Baconfest champion Matt Troost (Three Aces, Charlatan), who have created four flavors that bring jerky to a new level, all available in single serving 1.5 oz. packages.
"Besides creating a healthy and delicious jerky, I wanted to create a company that maintained the integrity of the word 'chef', said Hirsch. "I think the term 'chef-crafted' will become completely meaningless in five years as everything now is chef-crafted. It will become the new 'all-natural.' I created this company to be the first CPG that's healthy, delicious, and entirely chef-crafted by the real chefs of this country. The chefs who have paid their dues working in kitchens for 15 hours a day, 6 days a week, Michelin-star winners, James Beard winners, and so on."
The current flavor lineup includes:
· Sriracha Honey Made with free-range turkey, Worcestershire sauce, gluten-free tamari, brown sugar, sriracha mix, honey, onion powder and cayenne pepper
· Ginger Orange Made with grass-fed beef, gluten-free tamari, Worcestershire sauce, cane sugar, ginger, garlic powder, orange peel, onion powder, sesame seeds and cayenne pepper
· Sweet Chipotle Made with grass-fed beef, water, cane sugar, raspberry juice concentrate, sea salt, ancho chili pepper powder, smoked paprika, black pepper and cayenne pepper
· Thanksgiving Made with free-range turkey, cranberry juice, dried cranberries, cane sugar, cabernet vinegar, sea salt, black pepper, onion powder, smoked paprika, thyme, sage, garlic powder and marjoram
"Jerky is a hot product these days because people are seeking protein-rich natural snacks," said Hirsch. "Unfortunately, the jerky market is dominated by just a few producers who don't create a premium product. Think Jerky is striking out in a unique direction by driving beef jerky down new chef-driven roads. We've involved top chefs in the creation of our jerky recipes and our products meet very high quality standards."
Hirsch's business creativity isn't limited to product development he is also quite marketing-savvy. He has thought of an innovative way to tap the popular Kickstarter crowdfunding model. Unlike most Kickstarter campaigns, however, Think Jerky is not looking for investors at this point in time. Rather, they are looking for food retailers, distributors and consumers who want to jump on the inevitable bandwagon early, by pre-ordering Think Jerky in large quantities.
The details of Think Jerky's Kickstarter campaign, including products and packaging, can be found at www.thinkjerky.com. A compelling video presentation at the site explains the philosophy of Think Jerky and describes how they source their ingredients, create recipes and manufacture their products.
"Customers who purchase in bulk using our Kickstarter campaign will be able to take advantage of lower, high-volume pricing," said Hirsch. "Wholesalers and retailers will get a jump start on the competition, while consumers can be the first to introduce Think Jerky to their friends. Anyone who loves delicious, healthy snacks that are rich in protein will be amazed at how good Think Jerky is." Think Jerky will be available at high-end food retailers in the fall of 2015.
Hirsch is convinced that the time is right for Think Jerky. The demand for beef jerky has risen steadily over the past decade, but the market is dominated by a few producers who have appealed to the mainstream rather than meeting the needs of food-knowledgeable people who also expect healthfulness, purity and quality. Think Jerky's meat is pasture-raised, sustainably farmed, antibiotic and hormone free. The products have only one third of the sugar and half of the salt found in most other brands.
About Ricky Hirsch:
Ricky Hirsch is the creator and founding partner of Think Jerky. Originally born and raised in Highland Park, IL. Hirsch is deeply rooted in Chicago with a love for its culinary community. After graduating from the University of Michigan, he ventured to New York to work in finance. He bought his first company in 2006, which he sold to travel the world in 2008. Upon returning from his adventures abroad, he worked for himself trading equities, while also considering how to expand into the field he loves: food. In 2013, he followed his passion and developed Think Jerky, partnering with nationally and locally renowned chefs to create a sustainable, delicious, and healthy chef-crafted jerky. Hirsch will watch his dream come true when Think Jerky launches in fall 2015.
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