In this episode of The Business of Health Gisèle WERTHEIM AYMéS speaks to Oryx Desert Salt founder and entrepreneur Samantha Skyring, who is taking her exceptional whole food brand, Oryx Desert salt global.
Oryx Desert Salt is a unique pure crystal white natural desert salt. This pure salt is unrefined, unprocessed and contains minerals and trace elements which are recognised, easily absorbed by the body and essential for optimal health.
A global brand
After many years of growing the brand locally and internationally, in October 2021, Oryx Desert Salt became one of the few South African brands to land on Whole Foods Market shelves in the USA. This is an exceptional achievement. Whole Foods specialises in organic food that’s been sustainably produced and chooses their suppliers carefully. Their customers are conscious buyers who make purchases based on quality and ethics.
Why is this desert salt so special?
Explains Skyring, “Salt is required for brain functions, for digestion and almost every function in our body. So, when we sweat, we have to replace it. Not with table salt, which is actually an industrialised, highly processed salt that has been demineralised.”
Oryx Desert Salt is sourced within the remote, pristine, unpolluted Kalahari Desert. Deep within the desert, lies a vast salt pan where crystal salt is harvested from underground streams running through ancient Dwyka rock formations thought to be 280-300 million years old. The salt is naturally sun-dried under the hot Kalahari sun. The result is 100% pure, naturally organic salt.
“Because Oryx Desert Salt is free of preservatives, additives and is unprocessed, it retains all its valuable minerals and micro-nutrients, making it a nutritious whole food,” adds Skyring.
Oryx inspired her branding journey
Skyring’s vision for the brand was prompted by an experience she had in Namibia several years ago.
“I had an incredible opportunity to walk 120km, (75 miles), 7 days through the Namib desert. During this time, I had close encounters with the Oryx. In fact they came within a few meters from me. I took inspiration from this experience and applied it to my business vision.”
Innovation in packaging
Skyring also invested in packaging that set her product apart, choosing a grinder with a ceramic mechanism that is significantly longer lasting than plastic grinders and ensures no plastic micro-shards will accidentally be ground into food.
She believes it’s essential at this time to have minimal impact on the planet. Oryx Desert Salt uses renewable and sustainable sources. Refillable glass bottles with long-lasting ceramic grinder heads (so no plastic particles are ground into food!) means customers can refill their grinders over and over by buying value-for-money refill boxes. Refill. Re-use. Real value. Saves the earth and saves money, too.
“We need to ensure our products are renewable and sustainable and there seems no point in throwing grinders away. So our grinders have a ceramic mechanism and they are 20 to 30 times refillable. In South Africa last year we saved 180-200000 grind bottles and heads from recycling or landfill. Which is pretty substantial. The fact that you can buy it once and just keep refilling it saves your pocket. It saves the planet.”
Taste is at the heart of the desert salt
Branding and packaging aside, what truly sets Oryx apart is the taste. The salt has a fuller yet softer taste due to all the essential minerals and trace elements that exist naturally in salt, including magnesium, zinc and potassium. It’s subtle yet distinctive flavour-profile means less salt is needed for a more enriched taste. Chefs love using it, they taste the difference!
“No dish at Restaurant Jan is complete without a pinch of Oryx Desert Salt.” – Jan Hendrik, South Africa’s first Michelin-star chef
Skyring is a humble, passionate entrepreneur that has built her business from the ground up. She says her success to date has been made possible by the tremendous support she has received from many retailers and stockists as well as influential people like Michelin Star Chef Jan Hendrik.
Craig Cormack – The Salt Chef – at Salt Restaurant is also a fan. He says, “I use Oryx Desert Salt in my kitchen every single day and use it for various salt events and salt education in South Africa and globally. It is an amazing mineral, very rich, I love the flavour profile”
Main photo credit: World Journeys.