Here's What Happened To Paleo Diet Foods After Shark Tank

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The Paleo Diet has been a trending diet for many years now. Essentially, it encourages people to eat what humans ate during the Paleolithic period. That means no legumes, gluten, processed sugar, dairy, or certain types of nuts. As you can imagine, there aren't a lot of ready-to-eat meals that fall into this category, which makes convenient Paleo snacking difficult. That's what Shauna Sledge, fitness instructor, dental hygienist, entrepreneur, and Paleo Diet-follower thought, prompting her to create The Paleo Diet Foods, a line of Paleo-compatible snack bars. 

In Sledge's work as a dental hygienist in Fort Collins, Colorado, she treated Dr. Loren Cordain, the founder of the Paleo Diet. She told him about her snack bars and at the time received his endorsement for the product. At that time, Sledge's brand was the only one to receive such an endorsement. Even with that endorsement, Paleo and protein snack bars are an incredibly competitive market. To compete, Sledge sought some fresh investment to help boost her brand. Accompanied by a confused and jumpy caveman (whom we learn is her husband), Sledge made her pitch to the sharks in season 6, episode 27. That episode aired in 2015. 

What happened to Paleo Diet Foods on Shark Tank?

As Sledge and her caveman actor made their way down the runway, Mark Cuban let out a less than thrilled, "Oh, lord," at the sight. Sledge explained that eating like a caveman doesn't mean you have to live like a caveman. She added that her bars are a convenient, Paleo-friendly snack, and stated that she was seeking $150,000 for a 20% stake in her company. Then she gave the bars to the sharks to sample. 

Robert Herjavec shared that he thought the bars were great and tasted a lot better than other protein-boosting foods he usually ate. Cuban, on the other hand, questioned why the bars had so much sugar. Sledge went on to give more details about the diet's principles after the panelists remarked that she was extremely fit. Those comments prompted her to add that she's also a fitness instructor as well as a mother to three children and a dental hygienist. This made several of the sharks skeptical of her ability to commit fully to the company. Lori Griener revealed that she did not enjoy the taste of the bars and was the first to bow out. Sledge suggested being open to changing the recipe after receiving the investment. That wasn't enough to convince the sharks that the company was worth betting on. One by one, the other judges declined to make a deal. Shauna left the "Shark Tank" stage without an investment, hand-in-hand with her husband. 

Paleo Diet Foods after Shark Tank

Not securing a deal on "Shark Tank" does not always mean the end for a company. Sadly, Paleo Diet Foods is no more. It shut down operations in 2016 according to Sledge's LinkedIn profile, just one year after Sledge's episode premiered. This could have happened for several reasons. For one, protein and diet-specific snack bars really do have an endless list of competitors. Currently, there are dozens of Paleo-specific snack boxes, bars, and meat snack options available on Amazon. Even though the Paleo Diet traces its roots back to the Paleolithic era, it's still a trendy fad diet. As such, is likely to cycle out every few years or so. Keto and other diets have shot up in popularity in recent years, potentially displacing some of the market share for Paleo dieters. 

Also, one of Paleo Diet Foods' key selling points was that it was the only product that had Cordain's official endorsement, which got him 5% equity in the company and 10% in royalty payments. That endorsement likely stopped carrying as much weight as Cordain and his trademark became more available to other brands. Today, the Paleo Diet corporation offers a certification program so that anyone can submit their products for nutritional review and endorsement. 

What's next for Paleo Diet Foods' founders?

While it's never easy to pick back up after closing operations on a company, especially one you founded yourself, Sledge seems to have done just that. After shutting down Paleo Diet Foods in 2016, Sledge continued to work as a spinning instructor and dental hygienist as she has done for over 25 years. That entrepreneurial bug didn't shut down along with Paleo Diet Foods as Sledge launched her next business venture just three years later. 

In 2019, Sledge launched a new product line called Corejuv, a line of premium CBD products that include tinctures, softgels, and salves. Going off of Sledge's LinkedIn profile, the company is still in business. However, the company's website no longer appears under its domain name and no one has updated the company's Facebook page since 2019. The Instagram account is current but it would appear Sledge uses it as a personal page now. So while the company may still be operating on some level, it isn't clear how or if it's possible to purchase the products.