Pan’s Mushroom Jerky

Michael Pan has a rich multicultural background. His mother was born in Peru, his father in Malaysia. They met and married in a small town in Mississippi, which is where Michael was born and raised. When he was a child, he went with his father to Malaysia to meet family there. He returned as an adult to connect with his relatives and learn more about his cultural roots.

Food is a significant part of any culture, and Michael enjoyed being introduced to traditional Malaysian dishes. His family were Buddhists who did not eat meat out of compassion for animals. Michael was surprised to find the vegetarian foods so full of flavor, especially one snack made from dried shiitake mushrooms. Shiitakes have a savory goodness with a meat-like texture and are chewable. Like beef jerky, thought Michael—vegan jerky!

When he returned home to Portland, Oregon, he brought the family recipe with him to revamp the flavors using simple, organic ingredients. He turned into “mad scientist” mode as he tried various formulations in his kitchen. At the time, he was VP of Product for Fancred, a startup that he had helped launch that was a sports social media network. Once Fancred was sold, his buyout allowed him to take time off to concentrate on making jerky from shiitake mushrooms. It also provided the finances to found Panco Foods to produce high-quality food products that are delicious as well as healthy.

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His first product is Pan’s Mushroom Jerky made with shiitake mushrooms. The shiitakes have been used for their healing properties from far back into antiquity in China, Japan, Korea and Eastern Russia. Today, we know that they are a valuable source of protein, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals such as iron and copper.

Pan’s Mushroom Jerky comes in small pieces that are easily chewed. They have become a favorite snack for vegans, vegetarians, mushroom fanatics, jerky fanatics and anyone who loves unique foods. Let your creativity loose: put mushroom jerky on a pizza, in a salad, in an omelet. There are all the advantages of beef jerky: portable, nutritionally dense, and a great vehicle for an array of flavors. Without the meat.

Pan’s Mushroom Jerky is good for all of us!

  • It protects animals from meeting a merciless death and from spending their lives cramped on factory farms.
  • It protects our planet by reducing the amount of resources needed to raise animals, the tons of waste polluting the air and groundwater, and the acres of forest destroyed to make room for beef pastures. “The processing of beef generates more greenhouse emissions and uses more water and land than any other ‘commonly consumed food.’”
  • It protects us. It is good for heart health, red blood cells, the digestive system and for maintaining health skin, as well as free of cholesterol, soy and gluten. Perfect for paleo and kosher diet regimens.

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Pan’s Mushroom Jerky comes in four flavors:

  • Original is jerky at its most simple and emphasizes the mushroom taste.
  • Salt & Pepper adds a sharp peppery tang to the original.
  • Applewood BBQ is sweet and smoky with that distinctive BBQ flavor.
  • Zesty Thai has more of a “kick” provided with the addition of Thai seasonings, cayenne, paprika, and citric acid.

Pan’s Mushroom Jerky has received immense interest at food fairs and in the press. It was featured on TODAY and the Food Network and in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report and Esquire—to name only a sampling.

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Shark Tank Air Date: 11/20/20 – Season 12 – Episode 6


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Season 11 Episode 21

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