Snack-lins – Vegan “Pork Cracklin”

snack-linsSnack-lins were originally a joke. Co-creator Samy Kobrosly and a friend (who happens to be a chef) thought it would be hilarious to make a vegan pork cracklin (pork rind). After they finished laughing about it, they realized it actually was a very good idea.

Over the next several months, they experimented in the kitchen with a variety of plant based recipes. What they came up with is Snacklins. They're made out of yucca, mushrooms, onions and spices and fried up in sunflower oil. Sounds strange, but they taste just like pork cracklins.

Pork cracklins are a junk food staple. You can eat them out of the bag or dip them in your favorite dip. They're a ubiquitous convenience store food item all over the USA and they are quite tasty. The problem with pork rinds is they have 160 calories in a bag. Snack-lins have just 80 – that's why Samy says “go ahead, eat the whole bag!”

Each bag of Snacklins costs about three bucks. They come in three flavors: BBQ, Miso Ginger and “Chesapeake Bay.” Compared to other junk foods, Snack-lins have WAY LESS calories, fat and sodium. Compared to most chips – even so-called “healthy” ones, Snacklins have half the calories, one third of the salt and one third of the fat. It's about as guilt free as junk food gets.

Samy has his snacks in Wal Marts nationwide, 7-11 stores, on Amazon, Whole Foods, and dozens of other markets. His brand is growing fast and has the potential to be HUGE. He needs a Shark to help him manage the growth and make millions. Will the Sharks like this snack?

My Take on Snack-lins

I try to eat healthy: lots of fruits and veggies, nuts, not too many carbs, etc. Occasionally I will falter and eat a whole bag of chips with my daughter. While it's a tasty treat, it is SO BAD for me and I know it, but I like crunchy, salty snack foods. I'm not a big pork rind fan, but I do grab some at 7-11 every once in a while. Even the so-called “healthy” snacks have more calories and fat than Snacklins. The idea of a healthy, vegan snack is very appealing to me.

On my way home from picking my daughter up at school today, we stopped at Wal Mart and grabbed a bag. We got the BBQ flavor and they were yummy. And yes, we ate the whole bag. This is a snack I'd buy again because it satisfies my craving for a crunchy, salty snack without blowing my nutritional plan. I am IN!

Will a Shark Bite?

This should be an entertaining pitch. Kobrosly is an FM DJ by trade and he's into antics. At some point during the pitch, he chugs an entire bag of Snack-lins. If the Sharks like them as much as I did, he'll field offers.

I think Rohan will make a play for this. Kobrosly took the product from a few regional Whole Foods to nationwide at Wal Mart on his own. He went from 100 to 1,000 locations in a year. Oza will see this as a sign that the brand can be HUGE, so I think he'll make an offer. Samy better take it too. Scaling in the snack food business takes a lot of work and experience and Oza has the mechanisms and relationships in place to go from 1000 to 10,000 locations quickly. If Oza doesn't do a deal, I'll be surprised.

About Rob Merlino

Entrepreneur, auteur, raconteur. Rob Merlino is a blogger and writer who enjoys the Shark Tank TV show and Hot Dogs. A father of five who freelances in a variety of publications, Rob has a stable of websites including Shark Tank Blog, Hot Dog Stories, Rob Merlino.com and more.

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