Here's What Happened To Palmini After Shark Tank

Whether you watch your carbs or just want to eat more veggies, vegetable-based substitutes are an alternative to some of your favorite carb-based dishes. You may have tried cauliflower pizza, zucchini noodles, or one of the many other low-carb vegetable substitutions for rice, pasta, or even dough.

With so many in-store products and homemade options, do you really need another packaged or canned pasta substitute? Alfonso Tejada thinks so. After years of importing other products including quinoa and chia, he pitched his new Palmini brand to the investors on "Shark Tank" during Season 9 Episode 24 which aired in February 2018, per Shark Tank Hub.

The Palmini product he pitched was a pasta substitute made from hearts of palm which is a vegetable that comes from inside palm trees. A serving of the gluten-free pasta substitute contains 20 calories per serving and 4 grams of carbs, according to (via Palmini). Hearts of palm can be used in many ways, according to Healthline. People enjoy them in salads and other dishes as they are mildly flavored and versatile.

Tejada faced sharks Lori Greiner, Mark Cuban, Bethenny Frankel, Robert Herjavec, and Daymond John. Tejada opened with a bit of humor to warm the sharks up. His costumed mascot entertained the sharks by acting out Palmini "defeating" sugar, carbs, and gluten found in regular pasta (per YouTube). While the sharks applauded his opening, convincing them to invest wasn't so easy.

Palmini meets the sharks

The sharks sampled three dishes and reacted differently to Palmini, per Business 2 Community. Robert Herjavec immediately expressed disappointment that it "didn't taste like pasta." Lori Grenier tweeted, "I really loved the taste of Palmini!!"

Bethenny Frankel and the other sharks debated whether the brand has long-term potential in classic shark style. Frenkel expressed concern that since the product was basically vegetables cut into a pasta-like shape it is unclear whether the patent-pending technology is sufficient to stand up to the potential competition.

Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner came through and made an offer of $300,000 for 25% equity. This was more than the 10% Tejada wanted to pay but a compromise from the 30% the two sharks originally proposed (per Shark Tank Tales).

Alfonso Tejada went to college at the University of Florida, according to its student publication The Alligator. He told them he only sold a couple of cans of Palmini a day before he appeared on "Shark Tank." He ran out of stock within a day of the episode. "It's incredible how fast we ran out of stock," he said. "We're planning on restocking and then we'll see how sales go afterwards."

Palmini received an initial "sharknado" of sales, but it remained to be seen whether the deal with Grenier and Cuban would lead to sustainable success. Did Palmini join the best food products ever seen on "Shark Tank?"

Palmini is still going strong

It appears Palmini is still going strong. The pasta alternative product line now includes angel hair pasta, lasagna, and linguine. The brand expanded into other heart of palm-based low-carb products like "rice" and a mashed potato substitute, according to the Palmini. In addition, quinoa, chia, and llajua sauce are available under the brand Greenfit. Several nationwide grocery chains carry Palmini products including Safeway, Kroger, Walmart, Sprout, and Market of Choice.

Dietitian Amy Keating, RD told Consumer Reports, "Considering most Americans don't consume nearly enough vegetables daily, replacing hearts of palm for regular pasta is a great way to increase veggies in your diet." The consumer publication expressed concerns about whether the product is sustainable. Palmini's website indicates it sources cultivated palm sourced from Ecuador and harvests sustainably without killing the tree. The brand also acquired "BPA-Free" and ”Non-GMO" certifications, per Palmini.

Palmini's active social media presence suggests the brand is still in the game years after that Shark Tank pitch. Fans can discover new recipes and tips like Palmini Thai chicken salad through the brand's TikTok and other social media profiles. You could even try this easy hearts of palm pasta recipe.