Bob Tullio’s Product Perspective – Baja Vida: This new lifestyle brand will translate to strong micro market sales for operators

April 25, 2022
A closer look at products, equipment and services that will impact an operator’s business.

The product: Baja Vida – Beef Jerky, Beef Sticks, Dried Mangos

Like everyone else with a backyard smoker, I was confident that I could make a pretty good beef jerky. Then I tried Baja Vida. The texture is so perfect, and the taste is so good, it was like tasting jerky for the first time.

Flavors of Baja

“After we achieved some online sales success, we asked ourselves, how can we transform this brand into something more,” said Will Dryden, general manager of Baja Vida. “We realized that no one product out there had identified themselves with the lifestyle of the Baja, so we rebranded the product as ‘Baja Vida,’ and added the flavors of the Baja to our products.”

Dryden and his team use fresh produce for the jerky marination such as citrus, cilantro, onions, garlic, jalapeño and serrano chilis. Baja’s focus is on flavor absorption, allowing the fresh ingredients to cook out into the sliced beef.

Rebranded to Baja Vida

Baja Jerky was launched in September 2019 (without the Vida), when business was booming. Like so many startups, Baja Jerky ran square into the pandemic just a few months later. A quick pivot to online sales turned Baja Jerky into the #4 ranked beef snack on Amazon during the pandemic. The Baja Vida rebranding occurred in January 2022.

Recipe for success

The Baja Vida success recipe combines the work of its Michelin star chef on staff, an eclectic product variety, vibrant packaging featuring a cool steer wearing aviator shades, an ongoing dose of social media promotion and a surprising twist that positions their products as “better for you.”

“The nutrition facts speak for themselves,” Dryden said. “Baja Vida is lower sodium, has little to no sugar, features 100% all-natural beef, gluten free, no msg, no nitrites or nitrates, no added anything. We made the choice to produce a product that is higher quality at the expense of our own margins, as we are committed to be totally price competitive, which I know will be appreciated by micro market operators.”

3,000 c-stores and growing

Baja Vida has already found a home in 3,000 convenience stores, and Dryden noted that the company recently closed a deal with Terrible Herbst and will be on shelves first week of May throughout Nevada. The Baja Vida varieties (not to mention the colorful packaging) truly stand out in the retail environment.

The selections:

  • Street Taco Beef Jerky 2.5 oz. Bag
  • Salsa Fresca Beef Jerky 2.5 oz. Bag
  • Traditional Beef Jerky 2.5 oz. Bag
  • Lime & Serrano Pepper Beef Jerky 2.5 oz. Bag
  • Sweet Orange Beef Jerky 2.5 oz. Bag
  • Crackin’ Pepper Beef Jerky 2.0 oz. Bag
  • Beef Sticks – Street Taco, Traditional and Hot Sauce – 1 oz.

Mangos – classic Baja

In keeping with the Baja region’s love of dried fruit, particularly mangos, Baja Vida has launched chewy, sweet and tangy dried fruit mangos in a 3-oz. bag. As Dryden explains it, “When you are swimming in the ocean on a hot day, you get out and have a dried mango with chili limon. That’s classic Baja life.” Chili Limon seasoning is a key ingredient. As Dryden points out, people in the Baja put chili limon on everything – the rim of a glass, a piece of fresh or dried fruit, eggs in the morning – even sweet corn. “In Baja, you carry chili limon on your hip like a six shooter,” Dryden said. “It can go on every food, with every meal.”

Invested in the “Vida”

Baja Vida is invested in the lifestyle message and Dryden said it is more than just marketing – the message is authentic. “We live the Baja life. Every chance we get we are down there fishing, swimming and embracing the Baja Vida. We race a Baja Jerky Trophy Truck in the Baja Score Series, we fish in the Bisbees Cabo San Lucas Tournaments, and we are supporting the Rancho Santa Marta orphanage in Baja.”

Ready, fire, aim

“Things are moving quickly for us. It’s ready, fire, aim, but the product and the message is a success,” said Dryden. “We have distribution and we know that Baja Vida is a perfect fit for micro market operators who are targeting the Gen Z and millennial workforce.”

Bob Tullio’s take on Baja Vida

I only have one complaint about the product. Every time I handed a bag to someone on the golf course so they could try Baja Vida, the bag came back empty. The Street Taco Jerky and Beef Sticks are irresistible. My favorite product is the Salsa Fresca Jerky. Incredible flavor and texture.

“It starts with the packaging”

Baja Vida will be a huge success in the micro market space. It starts with the packaging. As Dryden explained, the company often hears from consumers who say, “My favorite is the green package, or the blue package, or the orange package.”

“Baja Vida makes sense for operators”

Baja Vida will truly stand out in the unattended retail space. Offering unique flavors in a category that has been fairly static for a long time, Baja Vida is a rare differentiator for micro market operators. The pricing structure, the “better for you” factor, the lifestyle message and the strong social media following all point to one conclusion – Baja Vida makes sense for operators.

To learn more about Baja Vida, contact Laura Selecky at [email protected] or (760) 550-0345.


Industry consultant and contributing editor Bob Tullio is a content specialist who advises operators in the convenience services industry on how to build a successful business from the ground up and advises suppliers on how to successfully connect with operators. Tullio’s YouTube channel, b2b Perspective, is designed to “elevate your business in two minutes.”

At the 2022 NAMA Show in Chicago, Tullio presented a pre-conference session entitled, “Selling Convenience Services: Strategies of Elite Performers.”

For more information on the services that Tullio offers to operators and suppliers, visit his new website at or contact him at [email protected].


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