What Happened To Chirps After Shark Tank?

Some of the most revolutionary foods we've seen on "Shark Tank" include mushroom jerky, plant-based fried chicken, and edible cookie dough. In other words, these snacks are far more than what meets the eye.

Another one of these wild food products is Chirps chips, which are tortilla chips made from — prepare yourselves — finely ground crickets. Harvard University graduates Rose Wang, Laura D'Asaro, and Meryl Natow (née Breidbart) founded Chirps in 2013, hoping to establish edible bugs as an alternative ingredient in popular American snacks. Wang and D'Asaro brought their product to the masses in 2016, with a pitch on "Shark Tank."

Understandably, the "Shark Tank" investors were initially unsure of the product, but after hearing more about the company's financials and sustainability goals, they started to change their minds. To the entrepreneurs' relief, they ultimately received an offer they couldn't refuse. With that being said, what happened on "Shark Tank" and where is Chirps today?

Chirps impressed investors with its cricket-flour mission

Although most Americans shudder at the thought of eating bugs, Chirps founders Rose Wang, Laura D'Asaro, and Meryl Natow looked at bugs and saw what they call a "complete and perfect protein." In the tank, Wang and D'Asaro explained to the sharks that their chips — made with cricket flour — are gluten-free, non-GMO, and pack as much protein as egg whites. In addition to being an excellent source of nutrients, crickets are also more environmentally friendly, requiring only one gallon of water per pound of crickets. Beef, in comparison, requires up to 2,000 gallons per pound.

The sharks questioned how Chirps would compete for shelf space, especially given the fact that the product uses cricket flour, but Wang argued that their uniqueness was a strength, even a selling point. In the end, Mark Cuban offered Chirps an investment of $100,000 in exchange for 15% equity, which they accepted. Of course, this was only the beginning of the Chirps' journey.

'Shark Tank' ushered Chirps chips in the public eye

As is the case with most "Shark Tank" products, a TV appearance boosted Chirps' sales almost overnight. In an interview with NYC's School of Visual Arts, Meryl Natow said the company experienced a "huge spike in interest" after its 2016 pitch. Mark Cuban's investment and support also helped a great deal, with Chirps still listed on his website.

At the time the episode aired, Chirps chips were sold in just under 100 stores. However, Cuban quickly helped them get into over 1,500 stores, including ShopRite, American Museum of Natural History gift shops, and even certain 7-11 locations.

Chirps was doing so well, in fact, that the team was turning potential investors away by 2018. Rose Wang explained in a Slate interview that they had reached a place where they could be pickier about who they brought on board, instead choosing individuals who were really passionate about the product and its mission. 

No surprises here, Chirps is seemingly still in business in 2023

With the increasing push for eco-friendly foods, it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that Chirps chips are still on the market. In addition to its three flavors of cricket chips — chili lime, cheddar, and BBQ – Chirps now also offers cookie mixes, merch, and books.

Chips are sold in two-packs and variety three-packs, for $15.99 and $22.99, respectively. A single package of chocolate chip cookie mix costs $17.99, and makes about 15 cookies. Each serving of two cookies contains 220 calories and 5 grams of protein, as compared to only 2 grams of protein in your average serving of Betty Crocker cookies.

As of 2022, Chirps was valued at approximately $4 million, which is a significant leap from its $1 million valuation back in 2016. The company doesn't seem to have branched out in terms of an Amazon storefront, but Chirps chips do have online listings at both Walmart and Kroger. Rose Wang left the company in 2019, but co-founders Laura D'Asaro and Meryl Natow are still very much involved.

What's next for Chirps' cricket chips?

One thing is for certain: the Chirps founders care deeply about sustainability. Per Slate, Rose Wang hinted that the company would always stick to its core mission, saying of her team, "We're all very in-tune with what's going on with the world." She further explained that the Chirps goal is to be better — both in terms of health benefits and environmental impact — than other brands on the market. Of course, with cricket flour becoming more popular, more companies are incorporating the ingredient into their own products. However, Chirps sees this not as competition, but as a victory for the industry as a whole.

In late 2022, the company commented on Instagram that it would be relaunching a cricket-based protein powder in the coming months, perfect for adding protein to porridge. Strangely enough, the protein powder does not currently appear on its website. It's also worth noting that the Chirps' social media accounts have been quiet for more than six months, despite the company website still appearing to sell products.