Paul Sprangers, founder of Power Plant, has been making small batches of his signature "delicious, plant-based alternative to beef jerky" for a year, in flavors Original Barbecue and Sweet Sriracha. Described as having a "smoky, BBQ-y flavor and a tough/chewy texture that, incredibly, gives the impression of meat jerky," just what exactly is the star behind this plant-based jerky? Eggplants!
While eggplant jerky is "easy on digestion, unlike meat-snacks, and provides plenty of energy, fiber, and nutrition," Paul sees Power Plant as much more than a company that produces a plant-based alternative to beef jerky. He sees the initiative as a way to reduce climate change, animal agriculture and the "commensurate suffering that is inflicted upon millions upon millions of living, feeling, intelligent beings," as well as a way to positively affect overall health. Still, in the end, he understands that to appeal to both vegans and meat-eaters, the product itself has to be delicious, and states:
"In order to make a compelling argument for a plant-based diet to mainstream Americans, we have to make REALLY delicious foods that resemble the "staples" and even "junk foods" of the meat world."
While the product already sells for $7.99 in independent, natural food stores in Southern California (as well as at The Herbivorous Butcher!), Paul has launched a Kickstarter campaign to help Power Plant scale up all areas of production, making it more widely available. The money raised will contribute to the next phase of Power Plant, which includes:
"Purchasing organic eggplants from local farms using fair trade practices, as well as ordering bulk organic ingredients to reduce production time, raw costs, and waste. Additionally, we will invest in updated, custom packaging. This will save time in production, reduce raw material costs, and increase sales and visibility."
The ingredients and nutritional information of the Original Barbecue and Sweet Sriracha can be found here, and the next flavors we can expect to see include Teriyaki, Hickory Maple, Extra Spicy, Roasted Garlic, and California Gold (BBQ mustard). The plan is to also make Power Plant's eggplant jerky available internationally, and the team is already in discussions with a vegan importer that services Europe.
To learn more about the company, the product, or the fundraising goals, make sure to visit the Kickstarter page or the Power Plant website, and until the eggplant jerky is widely available, you can also live vicariously through this sampling and review of the Sweet Sriracha flavor from Natural Products Expo West!