The Favorite Protein-Packed Snacks of Bodybuilders, Foodies, and Sharks
We are ecstatic to welcome the plant-based snack company P-nuff Crunch as a 2022 ChooseVeg partner! With roots in West Orange, New Jersey, P-nuff Crunch creates delicious gluten-free roasted peanut, cocoa, and cinnamon puffs. Their crunchy and flavorful peanut-based snacks are sure to put a smile on everyone’s face!
P-nuff Crunch founder and CEO Dr. Juan Salinas is a health-conscious bodybuilder and food scientist who craved a snack with a perfect blend of protein, fiber, and carbohydrates. Recognizing the lack of a convenient snack that met his standards for taste and nutrition, he went to work!
The ChooseVeg team set out to understand what brought Dr. Salinas to appear on Shark Tank with some of the most ruthless investors in business today and his experience in the food-development industry. This inspiring entrepreneur shed light on his experience while sharing some insightful advice:
You have your master’s and PhD in food science and over 20 years’ experience in several of the nation’s largest food companies. What inspired you to create your own business?
I was a snack product developer for these companies, and I created some great-tasting products that can be found on supermarket shelves today. However, I was not a consumer of my own creations. I have played sports all my life, and I’ve always looked for products that were good for my lifestyle. That means they have to be nutritious, especially for an active person. Well, the products I made were not. This led me to think about product innovation of snacks that I would feel good about eating. After coming out with several ideas, I decided to take a shot at it and create my own nutritious products. I created my company, Perfect Life Nutrition, and the first brand, P-nuff Crunch.
Congratulations on your Shark Tank appearance and securing an investment from Mark Cuban! How has your business changed since your episode aired?
Being on Shark Tank has exposed my products to a large number of consumers not only in the United States but also abroad, which has given my brand credibility with buyers and investors. Having Mark Cuban on our team has been great. He is very active and responsive to our needs and has a great team that has helped us become a much better company.
You moved from Honduras to the United States at a young age to pursue higher education, and now you are a successful business owner and emerging leader in your industry. Do you have any reflections on your journey?
I have always been a believer that hard work pays off. This is especially true in developed countries like the United States. I think the journey has just started and the bulk of the work is still ahead. For me it is about believing and never quitting and putting in the work.
How was your family involved in the creation of P-nuff Crunch?
My parents are the reason why I am here. It was because of their sacrifices that I was able to study in the United States to get a better education. Their continued support and that of my brothers and sister are also the reason why I am still running this business. They helped me with initial funding to purchase equipment and with advice in all areas of running a business.
You are not only a snack connoisseur but a fitness enthusiast and bodybuilder! We would love to hear about your relationship with plant-based eating and staying fit.
Being active requires eating right. That means to eat food that is nourishing to your body and supports the needs required by an active lifestyle. For instance, protein is essential for building muscle and recovery after exercise. It was wrongly believed that only animal-derived protein was good for this purpose, and research has shown that this is not the case. Plants can also provide the right protein for active bodies, especially when derived from different plant sources to create high-quality protein. This is one of the areas that makes P-nuff Crunch different from other plant-based snacks.
How have you seen the plant-based market change since the pandemic began? What challenges have you encountered?
I believe the pandemic has made people realize how bad their eating habits can be, from eating low-quality foods from fast-food restaurants to snacking on unhealthy products on the run. Being home has forced people to cook more, learn, and pay more attention to the foods they eat. This has led to people learning more about plant-based foods and their health benefits. The market has noticed this and taken it as an opportunity to develop better-for-you plant-based foods.
During the pandemic we saw many challenges, especially in the brick-and-mortar retail points, but it also opened up opportunities to reach more people through e-commerce. We currently generate more business from our online markets, but this is changing again quickly.
Do you have any advice for other immigrant or Latinx entrepreneurs interested in starting a plant-based food business?
Follow your dreams. Start a business that you are passionate about. Don’t start a business because you want to make money. Money will come if you are passionate about what you do.
Do you have any favorite vegan brands you wish more people knew about?
If you love crunchy, craveable snacks, P-nuff Crunch is for you! With natural ingredients and tons of flavor to satisfy the whole family, it is the perfect addition to your home. We recommend following their Instagram for updates on Dr. Salinas’s inspiring business endeavors and visiting their website to satisfy your cravings for delicious plant-based snacks. The next time you reach for a healthy snack or a gift for your vegan friend, be sure to check out P-nuff Crunch!
In 2021, our ChooseVeg Partners program spotlighted seven Black-owned businesses that are disrupting the food system, building influential brands, and producing delicious vegan foods. This year, we are featuring founders who are queer, Black, Latinx, and Asian American and Pacific Islander to celebrate the powerful impact these communities are making for farmed animals through innovative vegan foods. Make sure to sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss out on our “behind the brand” interviews and tasty food giveaways with our 2022 ChooseVeg partners, like P-nuff Crunch!