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This Snack Company Makes Vegan, Gluten-Free 'Pork Rinds'

This Snack Company Makes Vegan, Gluten-Free 'Pork Rinds'



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Snacklins says it uses yucca and mushrooms to make the product

The company says the snacks contain 30 calories per serving and zero grams of trans fat.

What started as a joke ended up being a hit when Washington, D.C.-based snack company Snacklins brought together vegan and meat snacks in the form of plant-based "pork rinds".

According to Samy Kobrosly, co-founder of Snacklins, the snack even has the same texture and flavor as real pork rinds.

“Our biggest problem is that people think we are lying and that we are not vegan — especially once they taste it,” Kobrosly told FoodNavigator-USA.

The company says it uses flash-fried, dehydrated yucca (or cassava root) to get a “nice puff” and “airiness,” and mushroom for the “meaty umami” taste.

Snacklins’ plant-based "pork rinds" come in three flavors: BBQ, Soy Ginger, and Chesapeake Bay.

The vegan "pork rinds" are currently available online and at select retailers for $3.50 for a small bag or $18 for a pack of 6 snack-sized bags, but the company says it plans to cut the price to $1.99 in the future.


This Snack Company Makes Vegan, Gluten-Free 'Pork Rinds' - Recipes

Editor's note: This article is part of Inc.'s 2020 Best Industries report.

The son of Tunisian immigrants, Samy Kobrosly immersed himself in Midwestern American culture while growing up in Iowa. There was a necessary blind spot, though, in part due to his Muslim faith.

"I spent those 20 years never eating pork," he says. His friends joked he was missing out on bacon, biscuits and gravy, and fried pork rinds, which are known in some regions of the U.S. as cracklins. He didn't think about it all much at the time. But it came back to him years later when left his job in radio, and needed to channel his energy--at all hours. He started spending late nights experimenting with bread recipes in the basement kitchen of a restaurant a friend owned. Other buddies would join, and pretty soon the pork jokes started again.

Kobrosly fired back that he could probably make vegan cracklins that would be just as tasty and far healthier than the deep-fried pork fat ones. After a few weeks of tinkering, he created a version made from umami-flavor-inducing mushrooms, onions, and yuca that had just over half the calories, and less than half the sodium and total fat of Doritos, Sun Chips, or even Veggie Straws. Kobrosly's creation, which he called Snacklins, was convincing enough that he eventually set about trying to sell them. Now, four years later, they're available in 1,300 stores, including Whole Foods, 7-11, and Stop and Shop. The 20-employee Rockville, Maryland-based company is part of a wave of food businesses trying to satisfy consumers' never-ending craving for junk food with healthier versions of chips and other snacks.

The product's (and the company's) name, a play on cracklins, came to Kobrosly almost immediately. The other elements of the company required a lot more effort--especially since he'd never even considered how to get a product onto store shelves. There were the matters of packaging, nutritional labeling, marketing. But he moved fast, renting a juice bar after hours to ramp up production, printing his own labels at a FedEx store, and getting UPC barcodes. He ordered seal-top bags for the product, and put photos on Instagram. Within weeks, he'd gotten Snacklins a bit of shelf space in local D.C. gourmet grocery Glen's Garden Market.

After joining a food-business incubator he made his first hire, Sylvia Escoto, right away, figuring he could wait tables to pay her salary. Escoto and Logan McGear, Kobrosly's friend, who was a chef at the restaurant where he concocted Snacklins, became co-founders. (McGear is no longer involved in the company.) In less than a year, their product was being sold in local Whole Foods stores.


This Snack Company Makes Vegan, Gluten-Free 'Pork Rinds' - Recipes

Editor's note: This article is part of Inc.'s 2020 Best Industries report.

The son of Tunisian immigrants, Samy Kobrosly immersed himself in Midwestern American culture while growing up in Iowa. There was a necessary blind spot, though, in part due to his Muslim faith.

"I spent those 20 years never eating pork," he says. His friends joked he was missing out on bacon, biscuits and gravy, and fried pork rinds, which are known in some regions of the U.S. as cracklins. He didn't think about it all much at the time. But it came back to him years later when left his job in radio, and needed to channel his energy--at all hours. He started spending late nights experimenting with bread recipes in the basement kitchen of a restaurant a friend owned. Other buddies would join, and pretty soon the pork jokes started again.

Kobrosly fired back that he could probably make vegan cracklins that would be just as tasty and far healthier than the deep-fried pork fat ones. After a few weeks of tinkering, he created a version made from umami-flavor-inducing mushrooms, onions, and yuca that had just over half the calories, and less than half the sodium and total fat of Doritos, Sun Chips, or even Veggie Straws. Kobrosly's creation, which he called Snacklins, was convincing enough that he eventually set about trying to sell them. Now, four years later, they're available in 1,300 stores, including Whole Foods, 7-11, and Stop and Shop. The 20-employee Rockville, Maryland-based company is part of a wave of food businesses trying to satisfy consumers' never-ending craving for junk food with healthier versions of chips and other snacks.

The product's (and the company's) name, a play on cracklins, came to Kobrosly almost immediately. The other elements of the company required a lot more effort--especially since he'd never even considered how to get a product onto store shelves. There were the matters of packaging, nutritional labeling, marketing. But he moved fast, renting a juice bar after hours to ramp up production, printing his own labels at a FedEx store, and getting UPC barcodes. He ordered seal-top bags for the product, and put photos on Instagram. Within weeks, he'd gotten Snacklins a bit of shelf space in local D.C. gourmet grocery Glen's Garden Market.

After joining a food-business incubator he made his first hire, Sylvia Escoto, right away, figuring he could wait tables to pay her salary. Escoto and Logan McGear, Kobrosly's friend, who was a chef at the restaurant where he concocted Snacklins, became co-founders. (McGear is no longer involved in the company.) In less than a year, their product was being sold in local Whole Foods stores.


This Snack Company Makes Vegan, Gluten-Free 'Pork Rinds' - Recipes

Editor's note: This article is part of Inc.'s 2020 Best Industries report.

The son of Tunisian immigrants, Samy Kobrosly immersed himself in Midwestern American culture while growing up in Iowa. There was a necessary blind spot, though, in part due to his Muslim faith.

"I spent those 20 years never eating pork," he says. His friends joked he was missing out on bacon, biscuits and gravy, and fried pork rinds, which are known in some regions of the U.S. as cracklins. He didn't think about it all much at the time. But it came back to him years later when left his job in radio, and needed to channel his energy--at all hours. He started spending late nights experimenting with bread recipes in the basement kitchen of a restaurant a friend owned. Other buddies would join, and pretty soon the pork jokes started again.

Kobrosly fired back that he could probably make vegan cracklins that would be just as tasty and far healthier than the deep-fried pork fat ones. After a few weeks of tinkering, he created a version made from umami-flavor-inducing mushrooms, onions, and yuca that had just over half the calories, and less than half the sodium and total fat of Doritos, Sun Chips, or even Veggie Straws. Kobrosly's creation, which he called Snacklins, was convincing enough that he eventually set about trying to sell them. Now, four years later, they're available in 1,300 stores, including Whole Foods, 7-11, and Stop and Shop. The 20-employee Rockville, Maryland-based company is part of a wave of food businesses trying to satisfy consumers' never-ending craving for junk food with healthier versions of chips and other snacks.

The product's (and the company's) name, a play on cracklins, came to Kobrosly almost immediately. The other elements of the company required a lot more effort--especially since he'd never even considered how to get a product onto store shelves. There were the matters of packaging, nutritional labeling, marketing. But he moved fast, renting a juice bar after hours to ramp up production, printing his own labels at a FedEx store, and getting UPC barcodes. He ordered seal-top bags for the product, and put photos on Instagram. Within weeks, he'd gotten Snacklins a bit of shelf space in local D.C. gourmet grocery Glen's Garden Market.

After joining a food-business incubator he made his first hire, Sylvia Escoto, right away, figuring he could wait tables to pay her salary. Escoto and Logan McGear, Kobrosly's friend, who was a chef at the restaurant where he concocted Snacklins, became co-founders. (McGear is no longer involved in the company.) In less than a year, their product was being sold in local Whole Foods stores.


This Snack Company Makes Vegan, Gluten-Free 'Pork Rinds' - Recipes

Editor's note: This article is part of Inc.'s 2020 Best Industries report.

The son of Tunisian immigrants, Samy Kobrosly immersed himself in Midwestern American culture while growing up in Iowa. There was a necessary blind spot, though, in part due to his Muslim faith.

"I spent those 20 years never eating pork," he says. His friends joked he was missing out on bacon, biscuits and gravy, and fried pork rinds, which are known in some regions of the U.S. as cracklins. He didn't think about it all much at the time. But it came back to him years later when left his job in radio, and needed to channel his energy--at all hours. He started spending late nights experimenting with bread recipes in the basement kitchen of a restaurant a friend owned. Other buddies would join, and pretty soon the pork jokes started again.

Kobrosly fired back that he could probably make vegan cracklins that would be just as tasty and far healthier than the deep-fried pork fat ones. After a few weeks of tinkering, he created a version made from umami-flavor-inducing mushrooms, onions, and yuca that had just over half the calories, and less than half the sodium and total fat of Doritos, Sun Chips, or even Veggie Straws. Kobrosly's creation, which he called Snacklins, was convincing enough that he eventually set about trying to sell them. Now, four years later, they're available in 1,300 stores, including Whole Foods, 7-11, and Stop and Shop. The 20-employee Rockville, Maryland-based company is part of a wave of food businesses trying to satisfy consumers' never-ending craving for junk food with healthier versions of chips and other snacks.

The product's (and the company's) name, a play on cracklins, came to Kobrosly almost immediately. The other elements of the company required a lot more effort--especially since he'd never even considered how to get a product onto store shelves. There were the matters of packaging, nutritional labeling, marketing. But he moved fast, renting a juice bar after hours to ramp up production, printing his own labels at a FedEx store, and getting UPC barcodes. He ordered seal-top bags for the product, and put photos on Instagram. Within weeks, he'd gotten Snacklins a bit of shelf space in local D.C. gourmet grocery Glen's Garden Market.

After joining a food-business incubator he made his first hire, Sylvia Escoto, right away, figuring he could wait tables to pay her salary. Escoto and Logan McGear, Kobrosly's friend, who was a chef at the restaurant where he concocted Snacklins, became co-founders. (McGear is no longer involved in the company.) In less than a year, their product was being sold in local Whole Foods stores.


This Snack Company Makes Vegan, Gluten-Free 'Pork Rinds' - Recipes

Editor's note: This article is part of Inc.'s 2020 Best Industries report.

The son of Tunisian immigrants, Samy Kobrosly immersed himself in Midwestern American culture while growing up in Iowa. There was a necessary blind spot, though, in part due to his Muslim faith.

"I spent those 20 years never eating pork," he says. His friends joked he was missing out on bacon, biscuits and gravy, and fried pork rinds, which are known in some regions of the U.S. as cracklins. He didn't think about it all much at the time. But it came back to him years later when left his job in radio, and needed to channel his energy--at all hours. He started spending late nights experimenting with bread recipes in the basement kitchen of a restaurant a friend owned. Other buddies would join, and pretty soon the pork jokes started again.

Kobrosly fired back that he could probably make vegan cracklins that would be just as tasty and far healthier than the deep-fried pork fat ones. After a few weeks of tinkering, he created a version made from umami-flavor-inducing mushrooms, onions, and yuca that had just over half the calories, and less than half the sodium and total fat of Doritos, Sun Chips, or even Veggie Straws. Kobrosly's creation, which he called Snacklins, was convincing enough that he eventually set about trying to sell them. Now, four years later, they're available in 1,300 stores, including Whole Foods, 7-11, and Stop and Shop. The 20-employee Rockville, Maryland-based company is part of a wave of food businesses trying to satisfy consumers' never-ending craving for junk food with healthier versions of chips and other snacks.

The product's (and the company's) name, a play on cracklins, came to Kobrosly almost immediately. The other elements of the company required a lot more effort--especially since he'd never even considered how to get a product onto store shelves. There were the matters of packaging, nutritional labeling, marketing. But he moved fast, renting a juice bar after hours to ramp up production, printing his own labels at a FedEx store, and getting UPC barcodes. He ordered seal-top bags for the product, and put photos on Instagram. Within weeks, he'd gotten Snacklins a bit of shelf space in local D.C. gourmet grocery Glen's Garden Market.

After joining a food-business incubator he made his first hire, Sylvia Escoto, right away, figuring he could wait tables to pay her salary. Escoto and Logan McGear, Kobrosly's friend, who was a chef at the restaurant where he concocted Snacklins, became co-founders. (McGear is no longer involved in the company.) In less than a year, their product was being sold in local Whole Foods stores.


This Snack Company Makes Vegan, Gluten-Free 'Pork Rinds' - Recipes

Editor's note: This article is part of Inc.'s 2020 Best Industries report.

The son of Tunisian immigrants, Samy Kobrosly immersed himself in Midwestern American culture while growing up in Iowa. There was a necessary blind spot, though, in part due to his Muslim faith.

"I spent those 20 years never eating pork," he says. His friends joked he was missing out on bacon, biscuits and gravy, and fried pork rinds, which are known in some regions of the U.S. as cracklins. He didn't think about it all much at the time. But it came back to him years later when left his job in radio, and needed to channel his energy--at all hours. He started spending late nights experimenting with bread recipes in the basement kitchen of a restaurant a friend owned. Other buddies would join, and pretty soon the pork jokes started again.

Kobrosly fired back that he could probably make vegan cracklins that would be just as tasty and far healthier than the deep-fried pork fat ones. After a few weeks of tinkering, he created a version made from umami-flavor-inducing mushrooms, onions, and yuca that had just over half the calories, and less than half the sodium and total fat of Doritos, Sun Chips, or even Veggie Straws. Kobrosly's creation, which he called Snacklins, was convincing enough that he eventually set about trying to sell them. Now, four years later, they're available in 1,300 stores, including Whole Foods, 7-11, and Stop and Shop. The 20-employee Rockville, Maryland-based company is part of a wave of food businesses trying to satisfy consumers' never-ending craving for junk food with healthier versions of chips and other snacks.

The product's (and the company's) name, a play on cracklins, came to Kobrosly almost immediately. The other elements of the company required a lot more effort--especially since he'd never even considered how to get a product onto store shelves. There were the matters of packaging, nutritional labeling, marketing. But he moved fast, renting a juice bar after hours to ramp up production, printing his own labels at a FedEx store, and getting UPC barcodes. He ordered seal-top bags for the product, and put photos on Instagram. Within weeks, he'd gotten Snacklins a bit of shelf space in local D.C. gourmet grocery Glen's Garden Market.

After joining a food-business incubator he made his first hire, Sylvia Escoto, right away, figuring he could wait tables to pay her salary. Escoto and Logan McGear, Kobrosly's friend, who was a chef at the restaurant where he concocted Snacklins, became co-founders. (McGear is no longer involved in the company.) In less than a year, their product was being sold in local Whole Foods stores.


This Snack Company Makes Vegan, Gluten-Free 'Pork Rinds' - Recipes

Editor's note: This article is part of Inc.'s 2020 Best Industries report.

The son of Tunisian immigrants, Samy Kobrosly immersed himself in Midwestern American culture while growing up in Iowa. There was a necessary blind spot, though, in part due to his Muslim faith.

"I spent those 20 years never eating pork," he says. His friends joked he was missing out on bacon, biscuits and gravy, and fried pork rinds, which are known in some regions of the U.S. as cracklins. He didn't think about it all much at the time. But it came back to him years later when left his job in radio, and needed to channel his energy--at all hours. He started spending late nights experimenting with bread recipes in the basement kitchen of a restaurant a friend owned. Other buddies would join, and pretty soon the pork jokes started again.

Kobrosly fired back that he could probably make vegan cracklins that would be just as tasty and far healthier than the deep-fried pork fat ones. After a few weeks of tinkering, he created a version made from umami-flavor-inducing mushrooms, onions, and yuca that had just over half the calories, and less than half the sodium and total fat of Doritos, Sun Chips, or even Veggie Straws. Kobrosly's creation, which he called Snacklins, was convincing enough that he eventually set about trying to sell them. Now, four years later, they're available in 1,300 stores, including Whole Foods, 7-11, and Stop and Shop. The 20-employee Rockville, Maryland-based company is part of a wave of food businesses trying to satisfy consumers' never-ending craving for junk food with healthier versions of chips and other snacks.

The product's (and the company's) name, a play on cracklins, came to Kobrosly almost immediately. The other elements of the company required a lot more effort--especially since he'd never even considered how to get a product onto store shelves. There were the matters of packaging, nutritional labeling, marketing. But he moved fast, renting a juice bar after hours to ramp up production, printing his own labels at a FedEx store, and getting UPC barcodes. He ordered seal-top bags for the product, and put photos on Instagram. Within weeks, he'd gotten Snacklins a bit of shelf space in local D.C. gourmet grocery Glen's Garden Market.

After joining a food-business incubator he made his first hire, Sylvia Escoto, right away, figuring he could wait tables to pay her salary. Escoto and Logan McGear, Kobrosly's friend, who was a chef at the restaurant where he concocted Snacklins, became co-founders. (McGear is no longer involved in the company.) In less than a year, their product was being sold in local Whole Foods stores.


This Snack Company Makes Vegan, Gluten-Free 'Pork Rinds' - Recipes

Editor's note: This article is part of Inc.'s 2020 Best Industries report.

The son of Tunisian immigrants, Samy Kobrosly immersed himself in Midwestern American culture while growing up in Iowa. There was a necessary blind spot, though, in part due to his Muslim faith.

"I spent those 20 years never eating pork," he says. His friends joked he was missing out on bacon, biscuits and gravy, and fried pork rinds, which are known in some regions of the U.S. as cracklins. He didn't think about it all much at the time. But it came back to him years later when left his job in radio, and needed to channel his energy--at all hours. He started spending late nights experimenting with bread recipes in the basement kitchen of a restaurant a friend owned. Other buddies would join, and pretty soon the pork jokes started again.

Kobrosly fired back that he could probably make vegan cracklins that would be just as tasty and far healthier than the deep-fried pork fat ones. After a few weeks of tinkering, he created a version made from umami-flavor-inducing mushrooms, onions, and yuca that had just over half the calories, and less than half the sodium and total fat of Doritos, Sun Chips, or even Veggie Straws. Kobrosly's creation, which he called Snacklins, was convincing enough that he eventually set about trying to sell them. Now, four years later, they're available in 1,300 stores, including Whole Foods, 7-11, and Stop and Shop. The 20-employee Rockville, Maryland-based company is part of a wave of food businesses trying to satisfy consumers' never-ending craving for junk food with healthier versions of chips and other snacks.

The product's (and the company's) name, a play on cracklins, came to Kobrosly almost immediately. The other elements of the company required a lot more effort--especially since he'd never even considered how to get a product onto store shelves. There were the matters of packaging, nutritional labeling, marketing. But he moved fast, renting a juice bar after hours to ramp up production, printing his own labels at a FedEx store, and getting UPC barcodes. He ordered seal-top bags for the product, and put photos on Instagram. Within weeks, he'd gotten Snacklins a bit of shelf space in local D.C. gourmet grocery Glen's Garden Market.

After joining a food-business incubator he made his first hire, Sylvia Escoto, right away, figuring he could wait tables to pay her salary. Escoto and Logan McGear, Kobrosly's friend, who was a chef at the restaurant where he concocted Snacklins, became co-founders. (McGear is no longer involved in the company.) In less than a year, their product was being sold in local Whole Foods stores.


This Snack Company Makes Vegan, Gluten-Free 'Pork Rinds' - Recipes

Editor's note: This article is part of Inc.'s 2020 Best Industries report.

The son of Tunisian immigrants, Samy Kobrosly immersed himself in Midwestern American culture while growing up in Iowa. There was a necessary blind spot, though, in part due to his Muslim faith.

"I spent those 20 years never eating pork," he says. His friends joked he was missing out on bacon, biscuits and gravy, and fried pork rinds, which are known in some regions of the U.S. as cracklins. He didn't think about it all much at the time. But it came back to him years later when left his job in radio, and needed to channel his energy--at all hours. He started spending late nights experimenting with bread recipes in the basement kitchen of a restaurant a friend owned. Other buddies would join, and pretty soon the pork jokes started again.

Kobrosly fired back that he could probably make vegan cracklins that would be just as tasty and far healthier than the deep-fried pork fat ones. After a few weeks of tinkering, he created a version made from umami-flavor-inducing mushrooms, onions, and yuca that had just over half the calories, and less than half the sodium and total fat of Doritos, Sun Chips, or even Veggie Straws. Kobrosly's creation, which he called Snacklins, was convincing enough that he eventually set about trying to sell them. Now, four years later, they're available in 1,300 stores, including Whole Foods, 7-11, and Stop and Shop. The 20-employee Rockville, Maryland-based company is part of a wave of food businesses trying to satisfy consumers' never-ending craving for junk food with healthier versions of chips and other snacks.

The product's (and the company's) name, a play on cracklins, came to Kobrosly almost immediately. The other elements of the company required a lot more effort--especially since he'd never even considered how to get a product onto store shelves. There were the matters of packaging, nutritional labeling, marketing. But he moved fast, renting a juice bar after hours to ramp up production, printing his own labels at a FedEx store, and getting UPC barcodes. He ordered seal-top bags for the product, and put photos on Instagram. Within weeks, he'd gotten Snacklins a bit of shelf space in local D.C. gourmet grocery Glen's Garden Market.

After joining a food-business incubator he made his first hire, Sylvia Escoto, right away, figuring he could wait tables to pay her salary. Escoto and Logan McGear, Kobrosly's friend, who was a chef at the restaurant where he concocted Snacklins, became co-founders. (McGear is no longer involved in the company.) In less than a year, their product was being sold in local Whole Foods stores.


This Snack Company Makes Vegan, Gluten-Free 'Pork Rinds' - Recipes

Editor's note: This article is part of Inc.'s 2020 Best Industries report.

The son of Tunisian immigrants, Samy Kobrosly immersed himself in Midwestern American culture while growing up in Iowa. There was a necessary blind spot, though, in part due to his Muslim faith.

"I spent those 20 years never eating pork," he says. His friends joked he was missing out on bacon, biscuits and gravy, and fried pork rinds, which are known in some regions of the U.S. as cracklins. He didn't think about it all much at the time. But it came back to him years later when left his job in radio, and needed to channel his energy--at all hours. He started spending late nights experimenting with bread recipes in the basement kitchen of a restaurant a friend owned. Other buddies would join, and pretty soon the pork jokes started again.

Kobrosly fired back that he could probably make vegan cracklins that would be just as tasty and far healthier than the deep-fried pork fat ones. After a few weeks of tinkering, he created a version made from umami-flavor-inducing mushrooms, onions, and yuca that had just over half the calories, and less than half the sodium and total fat of Doritos, Sun Chips, or even Veggie Straws. Kobrosly's creation, which he called Snacklins, was convincing enough that he eventually set about trying to sell them. Now, four years later, they're available in 1,300 stores, including Whole Foods, 7-11, and Stop and Shop. The 20-employee Rockville, Maryland-based company is part of a wave of food businesses trying to satisfy consumers' never-ending craving for junk food with healthier versions of chips and other snacks.

The product's (and the company's) name, a play on cracklins, came to Kobrosly almost immediately. The other elements of the company required a lot more effort--especially since he'd never even considered how to get a product onto store shelves. There were the matters of packaging, nutritional labeling, marketing. But he moved fast, renting a juice bar after hours to ramp up production, printing his own labels at a FedEx store, and getting UPC barcodes. He ordered seal-top bags for the product, and put photos on Instagram. Within weeks, he'd gotten Snacklins a bit of shelf space in local D.C. gourmet grocery Glen's Garden Market.

After joining a food-business incubator he made his first hire, Sylvia Escoto, right away, figuring he could wait tables to pay her salary. Escoto and Logan McGear, Kobrosly's friend, who was a chef at the restaurant where he concocted Snacklins, became co-founders. (McGear is no longer involved in the company.) In less than a year, their product was being sold in local Whole Foods stores.