Thousands of South African expats living abroad find themselves craving South African 'delicacies' like biltong, Mrs Balls, Fizzers and salt and vinegar Simba chips while stuck in another country. What's an expat to do? Open a store selling their beloved snacks, of course.
That's exactly what South African, Monique St. Luce and her husband did in trendy New York. They opened their chic store, Jonty Jacobs a few years ago to help manage Monique's pregnancy cravings for biltong and other South African snacks.Their timing could not have been better because meat snacks are now trending.
Beef jerky, the American version of biltong has been around for a long time, though it was found primarily in tuck shops and gas stations. Now, packaged dried meat is taking centre stage at "jerky outlets" in hipster neighbourhoods and even in America's favourite healthy, organic supermarket, Whole Foods.
According to a consumer-trend company that tracks sales of fresh food, biltong-like snacks have been promoted from a convenience-store road trip item to almost an hors d'ouvre. Huffington Post reports that over the past 6 years, sales of meat snacks has exploded, far exceeding the growth of other salty snacks like chips.
Why the new interest?
Americans' interest in protein comes and goes but it's on the rise for now as shoppers are more health-conscious than ever before. People are becoming more aware of what they put into their bodies and they are getting the message that protein is a better source of energy than carbs. This time round, the focus is on protein in "on the go."
The rise of outdoorsy, rough and ready fitness regimens and lifestyles like CrossFit and Paleo have also helped spark the growth of "on the go" forms of protein.
American jerky companies now offer exciting flavours like basil citrus, black cherry barbecue and pineapple orange. This is partly to appeal to women. Jerky was always a more 'masculine' snack in The States, but it shouldn't be hard to prove that jerky can be healthy.
In Australia, start-up, KOOEE! is a snack company that combines dried meat with something more familiar: trail mix.
Source: Huffington Post
Back in South Africa
No one needs convincing that biltong is a good idea. What's next? Craft biltong to go along with your craft beer?
If you're craving a salty snack, try Biltong and basil paté or a classic Baked potato with mushrooms and biltong.
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