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Week 170 - Pan's Mushroom Jerky

For the 170th week of "7 QUESTION SUNDAY" we shine the spotlight on another influential individual from the PNW. Pan’s Mushroom Jerky is a mushroom snack made of shiitake mushrooms with a delicious umami taste and satisfying meaty texture.

4EVRGRN: Hey, PMJ! Tell us a little about yourselves.

PMJ: Michael Pan discovered his family's mushroom jerky during a family trip to Malaysia in 2008, and immediately knew this was something he wanted to share with the rest of the world. Today, Pan’s is available in over 3,500 stores across the country as well as online and proudly produced in Portland Oregon. Michael lives in Vancouver, Washington and in his free time loves playing soccer with his son and watching Bulls and Illini basketball.

  1. What inspired Mushroom Jerky?

PMJ: It all started when I visited my family in Malaysia in 2006, when they served me a snack that they had been making for decades. My family is vegetarian Buddhist, so I knew I wasn’t eating meat - but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what this snack was. Needless to say, I was eating a mushroom!

This experience opened my eyes to a culture in Southeast Asia where they have been using innovative ingredients and production processes to create delicious, nutritious, satisfying plant-based foods. At this moment, I knew I had something special to share with the rest of the world! I started by importing jerky that my cousin made in Malaysia and selling within the United States while I held a corporate job full time. I used this time to do market research, confirm proof of concept, and strategize how to grow this business. In 2018 I finally quit my job and decided to launch Pan’s full time, bring production to the United States, and debut at B2B trade shows. It’s been a roller coaster ride ever since!

  1. What are some health benefits of mushrooms?

PMJ: Shiitake mushrooms are packed with vitamins and antioxidants. Pan’s is a good source of fiber and vitamin D, and naturally cholesterol free. Shiitake mushrooms are also shown to be:

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Cancer fighting
  • Cholesterol reducing
  • Immunity boosting

On top of the health benefits, mushrooms are also a sustainable and humane food option compared to animal-derived meat.

  1. For those who haven’t tried it, what flavor can they expect?

PMJ: Pan’s is made of shiitake mushrooms, and the flavor is umami and slightly sweet. Pan’s isn’t trying to imitate beef completely - it has a delicious shiitake mushroom flavor. The texture of Pan’s is soft and chewy that leaves you feeling satisfied. For each flavor, we have descriptions on our website!

  • Original https://www.mushroomjerky.com/products/vegan-mushroom-jerky?
  • Zesty Thai https://www.mushroomjerky.com/products/pans-zesty-thai-mushroom-jerky
  • Teriyaki https://www.mushroomjerky.com/collections/frontpage/products/teriyaki-mushroom-jerky?
  • Applewood BBQ https://www.mushroomjerky.com/products/pans-mushroom-jerky-applewood-bbq?
  • Salt & Pepper https://www.mushroomjerky.com/products/pans-mushroom-jerky-salt-pepper?
  • Curry https://www.mushroomjerky.com/collections/frontpage/products/curry-mushroom-jerky?
  1. Most popular jerky flavor?

PMJ: Our Zesty Thai is our best seller. It has garlic, onions, and peppers that create a savory flavor with a little kick. https://www.mushroomjerky.com/products/pans-zesty-thai-mushroom-jerky

  1. What was your experience on Shark Tank (S12 E6&E20) like?

PMJ: We had an incredibly positive experience. The application process takes a good amount of time and energy, but the experience was well worth it! We expected to generate about 6,000 orders after our pitched aired. However, we generated 35,000 orders in just four days. We needed to shut off our website and it took us some time to fulfill orders which was challenging, but overall the national exposure was validating and enabled us to scale in a huge way. Shortly after our pitch aired, we were contacted by producers to film an update that aired during the same season. We’re grateful for the opportunity to share our story again and get more exposure.

  1. Favorite local product?

PMJ: Hot Mama Salsa (specifically Papa Loco)


Genesis Organic Juice


  1. Where is somewhere everyone who visits Oregon should experience?

PMJ: It's hard to choose one, but I’d say Crater Lake (if you can!)

Follow Pan’s Mushroom Jerky on IG @mushroomjerky and use the above links to find your new favorite flavors!