What Happened To The Cheese Chopper After Shark Tank?

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What popular ingredient do Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and Olive Garden all have in common? Cheese. The beloved food item is a staple in the American food landscape. According to CNBC, on average, Americans eat 38 pounds of cheese each year, up from just 14 pounds back in 1975.

As consumers' desire for cheese increased, stores began selling processed and packaged cheeses in various iterations: cheddar, mozzarella, and the list goes on. This cheaper cheese had a longer shelf life due to added preservatives, making it an attractive option for fast food restaurants using cheese on items like cheeseburgers. However, once Americans' taste began to shift toward higher quality, natural cheeses, products like Kraft's ultra-popular American cheese were no longer seen as appealing (via The Washington Post). This change ushered in a new way for cheese lovers to buy and consume cheese. 

One person taking advantage of Americans' love of "craft cheese" is Tate Koenig. In his experience as a cheese connoisseur, he began to grow frustrated with the plastic waste from buying pre-sliced or shredded cheese (via YouTube). That inspired him to start buying cheese in blocks, generally a cheaper alternative. Then, of course, it dawned on him that slicing your own cheese with a knife is time-consuming and, at times, dangerous. That's when he got the idea for The Cheese Chopper.

An offer the Sharks *could* refuse

The Cheese Chopper's three-in-one design allows its customers to "store, slice, and grate cheese with ease," and an adjustable wheel allows users to customize the thickness of each slice. As Koenig puts it, the goal is to help people "save some cheddar while slicing your cheese better." After developing the product, he wanted to manufacture it for the masses but knew he would need a significant amount of capital. To raise money, he created a Kickstarter campaign that raised over $100,000. That's when "Shark Tank" became a part of The Cheese Chopper story.

Appearing in front of the Sharks in April of 2021, Koenig asked for $75,000, which would allow him to expand his business and streamline the production process from manufacturing to delivery, and promised to grant 10% equity to the investor (via BizzBucket). 

Unfortunately, every investor opted to pass on the product. The consensus was that though The Cheese Chopper was a good idea, it lacked customer feedback since all the profits were from pre-orders. There were also concerns over the effectiveness of the product. How did Koenig respond?

The Cheese Chopper is selling, but not with rave reviews

Undeterred by the outcome of "Shark Tank," Koenig took the feedback he received, sent out the first batch of Cheese Choppers, and sought out customer feedback (via BizzBucket). He also did additional testing to make sure the product worked consistently. The Cheese Chopper is available for purchase on the brand's website and Amazon for up to $39.99. The business has also expanded to carry food storage containers and branded merchandise. How have customers felt about their Cheese Choppers? Well, the response is mixed.

As of this writing, the item has a respectable 3.8 out of 5 rating on Amazon. The reviews range from positive to constructive criticism. A customer named Alycia was pleased with her purchase, giving it five stars and stating, "It's amazing!! It comes with different pieces depending on the way you'd like your cheese cut/grated. Would absolutely recommend." 

On "Shark Tank," some critiques focused on the assembly of the product, and those concerns were echoed by other reviews. In a lengthy review, verified purchaser Tanya stated, "The dial on the side is... awkward. I mean it's handy for pushing the brick forward to get a nice clean slice but it seems..cumbersome." In fact, the majority of the overall critiques could be summed up by the last sentence in her review: "Nice idea but not quite there." Turns out, the Sharks' concerns may have been valid.