Whitefish jerky made from Alaska pollock attracted the attention of big backers starting at a buffet table at Fish 2.0, a global gathering of innovators and investors hosted by Stanford University to grow the sustainable seafood sector.
“I knew that they would have to taste it to buy into what we were trying to build. And so I brought about 200 samples and it was literally the first major set of samples that we’d ever made of the product. And the samples disappeared in a matter of minutes. It was a pretty amazing moment. There were oysters on the half shell and platters of cheese and all this delicious food and the jerky was gone before anything else was really touched. That was kind of the beginning of everything and put some wind in our sails to keep going forward.”
Nick Mendoza, co-founder and CEO of Neptune, is a former marine scientist turned jerky maker near Seattle. The small company started out in 2018 with west coast rockfish and has since spawned a partnership with American Seafoods Company and industry trade powerhouse, Genuine Alaska Pollock Producers (GAPP).
“And what really sold us on the story of wild Alaska Pollock is what an amazing regenerative and abundant food source it is that operates sustainably at a large scale. I think that’s a great story to tell and the American Seafoods and GAPP teams really brought the data and the story to the table in approaching us about it. And I was definitely on board, both because it’s an amazing product, it’s really high quality, it’s delicious, and it’s also a great story that I think resonates with people.”
Mendoza says Neptune wants to become the “flagship brand for sustainable seafood snacks.”
“I think it’s inspiring, both as a founder in this space, but also just as someone who cares about the future of seafood in our oceans, that not only consumption in general seems to be on the rise, even COVID led to a big increase in grocery purchases of seafood. But this awareness, and this sort of renaissance in making sure that it is coming from a good source and understanding what your purchases are actually supporting when you’re buying fish.”
The Neptune whitefish jerky comes in four flavors and has great reviews on Amazon. Most say it’s not fishy and the texture is similar to beef products. It’s also available online and about 70 retail stores.
Use the code NEPTUNEJERKY20 for a 20% discount.