CLINTON — Beef jerky is 8-year-old Riely Martinez’s favorite snack, and he can tell you his favorite flavor without hesitation.
“Teriyaki,” he says, though he usually shortens the name to just “yaki.”
Riely was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 4 years old. Beef jerky seemed like the perfect snack for a hungry, diabetic kid: it’s chock-full of protein without sugars that would affect glucose levels.
But his dad, Ted Martinez, ran into problems when buying it at stores. He usually bought bulk bags of jerky for Riely, but the bags often barely lasted a week.
“I was sick and tired of paying out of pocket for the jerky that I was getting,” he said. “It adds up fast.”
Last November Martinez decided to make his own jerky, without preservatives, without sugars, just salt-based spices.
“I want to make it affordable for diabetics,” he said. “I wanted to do it for an affordable option for people in the same boat that my son is.”
Months later, his homemade jerky business, Bare Meat Snacks, has served more than 150 customers eager for cheap jerky. A handful of customers have recurring orders.
“I didn’t really think my product that I would kick out would be as good as it is,” Martinez said.
His wife, Donna, started a Facebook business page in March, coordinating delivery and production with the family’s schedule.
One of Martinez’s co-workers, Aki Campbell, first tried the jerky when Martinez brought free samples to work.
“I actually fell in love with his jerky, and now I can’t eat any other jerky,” Campbell said. “His jerky is absolutely phenomenal.”
The “Aki Yaki” beef jerky flavor is named after Campbell when he suggested Martinez create a spicy teriyaki flavor.
“A lot of customers have custom requests, and if it’s a hit, they’ll get a flavor named after them,” Martinez said.
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Source:: Deseret News – Business News