Company: Vermont Smoke & Cure
Introduced: May 2018
Suggested Retail Price: $2.49
Product Snapshot: Vermont Smoke & Cure’s growing line of responsibly sourced, locally smoked meat sticks now includes two grass-fed varieties. Jalapeno Lime and Maple Teriyaki grass-fed beef sticks hit stores this spring, full of robust flavor, clean protein, and healthy omega 3’s.
“Taste and texture are the driving factors for all of our products,” said Chris Bailey, founder of Vermont Smoke & Cure. “The challenge with grass-fed beef is to find ingredients that complement the natural flavor profile of the meat, which some consumers perceive as gamey. Our goal was to create a great tasting grass-fed stick without masking the natural flavor of the meat with loads of salt. We tried dozens of different combinations of spices, herbs and seasonings. These two were the hands down favorites.” The testing team sampled 13 different finalists before settling on the winners, Jalapeno Lime and Maple Teriyaki.
In keeping true to the company’s values, the grass-fed beef sticks use all natural ingredients. The Jalapeno Lime combines spicy jalapeno, citrusy lime and a touch of garlic with the highest quality grass-fed beef, which is smoked with maple wood to enhance flavor. With a distinct umami taste, the Maple Teriyaki combines sweet Vermont maple sugar, savory sesame oil, and flavor-rich ginger and garlic. Slow-smoked over corn cob, the Maple Teriyaki is soy-free. “Achieving a teriyaki flavor without soy posed a challenge,” said Bailey, “but it’s important that our sticks remain allergen-free. Our customers have come to depend on that.”
As with all of the company’s meat sticks, the new grass-fed line is handcrafted by its employee owners in Vermont Smoke & Cure’s own smokehouse and free of antibiotics, added sodium nitrite, and the “big 8” allergens: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soy.
Grass-fed beef still makes up a small percent of the US beef market, but demand is growing rapidly, with consumers citing health, animal welfare, environmental protection, climate change mitigation, and taste and flavor among their top reasons for choosing grass-fed. “These are all values that align with our mission as a company,” said Bailey. “From our start more than 50 years ago, we have been committed to using responsibly-sourced meats. Consumers are increasingly aware of where their food comes from and how its made, and the grass-fed sticks are an important addition to our product line.” Vermont Smoke & Cure uses 100 percent grass-fed beef that is Step 4 Certified by the Global Animal Partnership, an animal welfare program that rates farming practices that promote the health, natural living and emotional well-being of animals.
Grass-fed beef is leaner and more nutritious than grain-fed beef, with more omega 3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid, both considered “healthy fats,” and a higher concentration of antioxidants and Vitamin E. High in protein, Vermont Smoke & Cure grass-fed beef sticks do not require refrigeration, making them an ideal for a lunch box, gym bag, or energizing snack on the trails.
The new Vermont Smoke & Cure grass-fed sticks will be available in a classic one-ounce size, sold in 24-count dispensers for retail. The sticks will be sold initially at Whole Foods, natural food stores, and online beginning this spring.