Meat Chips launched a line of high-protein corn tortilla chips using white chicken meat earlier this month, following eight years of product development. Each 2.6 ounce chip bag contains 21 grams of protein and contains between 30-50% less calories than regular corn chips.
Asked why the R&D process had taken so long, founder Danny Fillmore said making chips that contained real meat was new and complex R&D territory.
“Chips with meat don’t happen overnight, and the ones that do tend to fail,” Fillmore told BakeryandSnacks.com.
“… Had I gone the smoked meat way, the company would have been packaged and sealed up like every other beef jerky in no time; instead, I wanted to see this idea manifest into more of a chip.”
The company started with a range of ideas for meat and grain combinations, he said, from beef and rice through to turkey and quinoa but finally settled on corn and chicken.
Fillmore said there was no competition on the market at this point.
“You can come out with a chicken chip, a beef chip, a veggie chip – whatever they want to use to bite off our product. We are the most dominant name in the game with many more products and flavors to introduce.”
Among the challenges to overcome in developing such a chip, Fillmore said navigating the meat processing sector and working with the USDA was one of them.
“You really need to know what you’re doing when processing any meat products. Along with that, there is a shelf life to meat and finally, having equipment down could cost us big bucks.”
Meat Chips had worked closely with the USDA to ensure active water levels in the chicken ingredient and cook times and temperatures ensured a safe product, for example.
The firm grinds the chicken meat in-house before blending with corn in a 40:60 chicken to corn ratio, ahead of a baking and frying step.
Fillmore said incorporating chicken into the production line was difficult because of its sticky texture. “I do think this is partly why no-one has ever come close to creating what we have,” he said.
Simple snacks boom
Elaborating on the inspiration behind the company, Fillmore said he wanted to bring a healthier alternative to the market.
“I’m just a consumer that is fed up with little to no choices in convenient stores. Most snacks are loaded with a bunch of ingredients I can’t pronounce and I was raised that if I can’t read it, I probably shouldn’t be eating it.”
The plan, he said, was to make Meat Chips a household snack on grocery shelves and gas stations across the country, but expansion wouldn’t stop there.
“We are already speaking with Peru, Mexico and Canada – we are on our way to a much larger market to come once we lock down the few focus states and markets,” he said.