Duck Fat spray is booming.
February 19, 2022
(Jacob Baker – NSN Business)
Cornhusker Kitchen is the world's one and only duck fat spray producer. The company was founded in April of 2016 by Dennis Schuett and his partner Rodger Brodersen. The spray can duck fat has taken off, now found in three different continents, six different countries and 3,289 stores.
Schuett initially intended to sell wing sauce after hearing about duck fat, believing that its flavor profile and melting property of 58 Fahrenheit would make a superb sauce. But after further research, he saw an opportunity in an untapped market in duck fat spray.
When developing the spray can, Schuett ran into several issues. The spray oil co-packers were not federally approved to handle animal fats. To work with animal products, you need a USDA certification while the packers only had FDA certifications used for plant products.
Unable to use the normal co-packers, Schuett began researching packing methods for his cans. He found the bag-on-valve method in which the can is filled with compressed air that pushes onto the bag of duck fat to spray out. Using the bag-on-valve method, Cornhusker Kitchen avoids adding aerosols to the fat leaving a cleaner product.
Cornhusker Kitchen has expanded from the flagship spray can to four different tubs of rendered animal fats. They have also expanded to three duck bone broth flavors, ramen, pho and orange-black pepper.
Obtaining enough fat to supply all 3,289 stores may become an issue Schuett explained, “There's only a finite amount of that stuff [duck fat] in the United States. And because ducks don't give their life for their fat, they give their life for their meat.”
The canned duck fat product has taken off unexpectedly with the barbeque world. Schuett explained that much of the growth has happened in grill-centric areas such as Ace Hardware’s grilling department. Grill enthusiasts learned that spraying the product creates a more savory taste without aerosols.
Schuett utilized his past experience with grocery and retail from being a food broker to gain access to grocery stores. One technique is Cornhusker Kitchen markets itself as luxury oil. Luxury marketing lets them enter more stores, as luxury products have higher profit margins for the stores.
They continue to expand and experiment with new animal oils to add to their sales repertoire. However, it is a long process creating oils that will not seize up in spray form.
Cornhusker Kitchen continues to grow in and out of Nebraska, showing how small businesses can survive and thrive with a great idea. -30-