Beyond Buffalicious: Tanka Bar at Natural Products Expo West 2008

June 28, 2009 1 Comment

We have just returned from Anaheim, CA, at the Natural Products Expo West! It is one of the largest natural food trade shows in the country!

This is a mammoth convention, spanning over five city blocks, all indoors. There are towering booths stretching more than 30 feet in the air and all of the big names in the natural food industry were present.

We were down in the basement pavilion, part of a showcase of Native American products with our booth generously provided by our hosts, the Intertribal Agriculture Council.

The response has been amazing! Here we are, this new upstart company from Kyle, SD, and we are the talk of the town! We stood toe-to-toe with the biggest names in the industry and held our ground.

We have great-tasting healthy food and presented ourselves in the best way possible. We tell people our story and they get it! The Tanka Bar is once again a huge smash hit.

This is our first national food show that we have attended and I was a little apprehensive. I shouldn't have worried though. We asked people to write down their reactions to tasting the Tanka Bar for the first time for our blog here at MySpace. Just listen to some of their responses:

"Beyond Buffalicious! Superior product." -- Wendy

"Amazing flavor! I was not expecting that!" -- Salvatore Gagliano, professional chef

"Wow! Holy crap! This is the best so far at the show." -- Amanda Bailey, SLO, CA

"Best thing I've tasted in the whole show." -- Angie Doren

"Cranberry + buffalo -- who would of thought it would be so delicious!" -- Amanda Begley, North Hollywood

What is the Tanka Bar?

This question has been asked so many times that the answer has been ingrained into our minds. Our reply is as follows:

"The Tanka Bar is a 1 ounce, all-natural energy bar based on our people's traditional recipe of Wasna or Pemmican. It is made with prairie-raised buffalo and tart-sweet cranberries. Only 70 calories, 7 grams of carbohydrates and 7 grams of protein.

There are only six ingredients: buffalo, cranberries, water, onion powder, garlic and a dash of salt. We slow-smoke the buffalo for over 9 hours to get that savory sweet flavor."

Now imagine saying that a few thousand times a day for three days straight. It becomes part of the way we talk and, not to be fake or anything, but much of the questions are the same.

"We have taken the traditional recipe for wasna, which was made with sun-dried buffalo meat and choke cherries, and switched it with slow-smoked buffalo and tart-sweet cranberries. We wanted something our own kids would eat and the choke cherries are a little bitter for most folks these days.

"More protein than an energy bar, more energy than a protein bar, the only way to classify it is as real food!"

Here's a few more reactions from first-time tasters:

"Mmmmmmhhh! Whoooaah! Killer! It's soooo great! Congratulations on your first new indigenous product! Good luck! Aloha E Na Mahalo!" -- Pramana, Hanama'ulu, Kaua'i Island

"That's great! So unexpected. I don't even like jerky. But this rocks!" -- Anonymous

"Damn good!" -- Tom Hajagos, Living Green

"The time has come again to have the best! Simple and elegant!" -- Ryan Reverditto, executive chef

"Meat and cranberrie -- who knew it could taste this good? And be balanced! Rock on guys!!!" -- Jeffrey, Los Angeles, CA

The funny thing about vegetarians

The funny thing about vegetarians is that some are not opposed to eating meat. There was a German dietitian who insisted that it was wrong to eat meat but helped himself to more than four samples of the Tanka Bar.

One of the floor managers of the venue, named Dove, told us that the Tanka Bar was the first meat she had ever eaten in her life and she loved it!

There was one vegetarian who ate the Tanka Bar not knowing it was meat and spit it out, even after that he said it had a great flavor. He came back the next day saying how sick it had gotten him.

"For real?" I said. I was getting ready to feel remorseful.
"No, not really," he replied.

If he was going to eat meat again, he said it would be the Tanka Bar. We kept telling them that buffalo eat grass, so it's kinda like eating vegetables, but the buffalo already takes care of that for you.

We even told them that buffalo is a non-amenable species and is technically not meat under USDA guidelines -- which is absolutely true! Sigh. Sometimes there is no helping people.

More reactions:

"Geez Louise! Damn!" -- Ben Ward, Nevada City, CA

"I love the combination of buffalo and cranberries. So moist and wonderful texture!" -- Mary Martin, Vancouver, WA

"Lifts your spirits!" -- Anonymous

"Mmmm - jerky times 10!" -- Shannon Szymkowiak

"I was wary it would be jerky like, but it was lovely, tasty and delish!" -- Courtney

Things overheard

Whenever you have such a massive amount of people together, there are always folks with interesting stories and odd things to say:

"Did you know my great-grandmother was Cherokee (or Apache, or Choctaw, or...)?" This made me want to say, "Yes, I did! Did you know that one of my ancestors could have been Polish? We're practically cousins!"

There was one man who apologized for the Battle of the Little Big Horn (Greasy Grass).
We said, "Why? We won that one!"

"Who do you market the Tanka Bar to?"
"Right now, we are focusing mostly on people who eat food, but we hope to refine our demographic soon."

More reactions:


"Perfect Bar!" -- Mike Richlin

"A meal in a bar. Delish! A real protein bar. Wonderful!" -- Celia

"Great-tasting innovative product!" -- Doug, Signature SSM

"This is the best product I have seen all day! I love it." -- Anonymous

Disclaimer: Tanka Bar does not contain crack.

We had many people tell us that the Tanka Bar is addictive. I even had to cut one man off: "Sir, I think you've had enough. Now call yourself a cab and go home."

People wanted to stay and visit about the Tanka Bar long after the show was over. The facility would shut off the lights and security asked us to leave, and still they wanted to stay and eat more Tanka Bars.

We would have people who would come by time and time again to eat more Tanka Bars. Not only were people loving them, but they were telling everyone about them! We had some people who became instant fans and it was as if we were recruiting for a cult. They would keep bring more and more people down to the booth.

The first day, people were talking about this great-tasting new product. The second, they would come looking for the bar with buffalo and cranberries. At the end of the third day, they knew the Tanka Bar by name!

At the end of the show, fellow exhibitors were trading cases of drinks and chocolates with us for Tanka Bars. Our neighbors at the Intertribal Agriculture Council booth always had their fill of Tanka Bars, and we kept the booth jumping with high energy.

It sounds cheesy, but eating the Tanka Bar kept us from being hungry and helped give us the energy we needed to do our jobs at the show.

All in all, Expo West was an amazing and tiring show to be part of. We introduced ourselves to the food industry and they said we can stand with the best of them.

Ask for the Tanka Bar to be in a store near you! And if you have some time, check out the rest of our comments (and a special thanks to everyone who took the time to write down a reaction):

"Clean, strong flavor." -- Carol Flato

"Really, really good. Nice + moist!" -- Chrissie Hathor

"Surprised ... but I really liked it!" -- O. Hartman

"YUM." -- Tom Tunge

"Noice!" -- Ben Ott

"Awesome!" -- Kevin Lahue

"Extraordinary!" -- Mark Astin

"Great flavor, easy protein." -- Shannon Pyle

"Yummy! Not too salty!" -- Jon Peterson

"Excellent." -- Clair Ann Moris

"Fantastically delicious." -- Jeremiah

"Absolutely fabulous." -- Deann

"Very Interesting! Great unique taste." -- Rachel

"Fabulous! Make more$$." -- Joelle

"A health feast! Phenomenal!" -- Tom

"Excellent! Pride of Indian Nations." -- Ashley Hornsby

"Delicieux!" -- Fillipe de la Perause

"Loved it! Buffalo -- my meat of choice." -- Joyce Kincaid

"Great taste." -- Gordon Cohen

"It's the perfect mix of sweetness + meatiness." -- Darrel Jursa

"Delicious!" -- Rosemary Barnes

"It is fantastic." -- Samir

"One of the best bars with fruit/cranberries in it. Loved it!" -- Mike

"Great taste and chewy/juicy." -- Anonymous

"Best jerky I've ever tasted." -- Anonymous

"One of the best things I tasted today at Expo West." -- Ross Goodine, Prairie Dawn Natural Body Products Ltd., Edmonton, AB

"I love the flavor of the Tanka Bar! Excellent choice of food chemistry! Get it, you'll love it." -- Sujon Darte, Los Angeles, CA

"Delicious traditional food!" -- Kristin, San Francisco, CA

"Awesome and delicious -- Tastes like beef jerky, but healthy." -- Scott DeSilva

Honolulu, HI, Mulradi Corp.

"Great show! Wonderful bars." -- Bonnie, Denton, TX

"Unique and delicious." -- Bryan and Kristin

"Awesome!" -- Anonymous, Nevada City, CA

"Excellent! Sweet, flavorful!" -- Eric Stromberg, Davis, CA

"Awesome taste and great texture! A+++!!" -- Dan, Fullerton, CA

"Nice -- love how unique this is." -- Rachel, San Francisco, CA

"The best beef jerky I've ever had." -- Dr. Roy Dittman, OMD

"This Tanka Bar is truly amazing stuff." -- Anonymous

1 Response


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