A US company now has R400 million to teach Americans that biltong is much better than jerky - and they're even selling 'biltong trail mix'

Business Insider SA
  • All-American biltong company Stryve has raised another R236 million in a new round of funding – after raising R140 million last year.
  • It now also has a high-powered chief marketing officer, who once helped manage the Dr Pepper and Snapple brands.
  • Stryve is trying to teach Americans how much better biltong is than beef jerky, even if Trevor Noah doesn't always help.

Texas-based company Stryve Biltong says it has raised another $16.5 million – the equivalent of some R236 million – in investment to fund its marketing efforts.

The now two-year-old Stryve intends to use the cash in education and awareness drives, as it further ramps up its marketing efforts across America.

In 2018 the company raised the equivalent of R140 million in initial funding for much the same purpose: teaching Americans that South African biltong is a superior protein snack to American-style beef jerky, which is usually made with sugar or honey and force-dried in an oven.

See also: A startup has landed R140 million to popularise biltong in America – at R1,800 a kilo

There is huge demand in America for its "clean protein snacking" range, which includes pre-sliced biltong in various flavours, droëwors it markets as "biltong sticks", and a distinctly un-South-African "trail mix" that packages biltong with nuts and seeds, Stryve says.

It markets its biltong trail mix as "the world's healthiest", though one of its three flavours also promises "just enough chocolate to tempt your dark side".

See also: A year ago this US football star thought biltong was too good to be true. Now he wants to mix it with nuts.

Stryve has also announced the addition to its board of directors of Peter Rahal, who is best known for creating protein snack company RxBar in his parent's basement – and selling it five years later for the equivalent of R8.6 billion.

The company's new chief marketing officer, Jaxie Alt, on the other hand, is best known for the more than 18 years she spent in various positions at the Dr Pepper Snapple Group, first as a junior brand manager and later as a senior vice-president.

Stryve is pitching biltong to the fitness-conscious as a zero-sugar snack that can "help curb cravings and achieve fitness goals". 

One of its major challenges has been to establish the idea of biltong as a more natural, air-dried alternative to the very different jerky that Americans know – which hasn't always been helped by South Africa's other big export to America.

Trevor Noah (incorrectly) told his studio audience that biltong is South Africa's version of beef jerky.

But US reviews of Stryve's biltong have been positive – and Americans seem to be having no trouble pronouncing the word.

See also: This company says South Africa has no favourite biltong brand – but that is about to change

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