Here's What Happened To Bohana Snacks After Shark Tank

An entrepreneur rarely pops in with as much enthusiasm as Nadine Habayeb did on "Shark Tank." Appearing in "Shark Tank" Season 11, Episode 17, Habayeb took on bagged and microwave popcorn with her snack company Bohana, which she co-founded with her friend Priyal Bhartia. Bohana sold roasted water lily seeds as a healthy snacking alternative.

Habayeb and Bhartia developed the idea for the company after Bhartia's husband experienced an undisclosed illness that restricted his diet. During this time, Bhartia rediscovered her childhood passion for water lily seeds and introduced the health food to Habayeb, who also quickly became a fan. Popped water lily seeds have been consumed in India for centuries but have failed to catch on elsewhere. According to Habayeb, they realized no one in the United States had capitalized on the food. "That was the ah-ha moment," she told Authority Magazine. "Together, we decided to introduce these seeds to the U.S."

The two founded the company in 2017, selling three different flavors. In 2018, they were among 10 startups selected by PepsiCo's Nutrition Greenhouse mentorship program. But to move their company to the next level, they hoped to find a partner in one of the Sharks.

Mr. Wonderful bites into Bohana

Since Priyal Bhartia was pregnant and unable to attend, Nadine Habayeb braved the Sharks on "Shark Tank" alone, asking for $200,000 for 10% of the company. Bohana immediately captivated the Sharks, who were fans of the snacks' flavors and reported nutritional value. A bag of Bohana contains only 110 to 150 calories and three grams of protein. Shark Lori Greiner compared the texture of the water lily seeds to puffed rice.

Ultimately, Habayeb faced two competing offers from dueling Sharks. Barbara Corcoran offered the asked-for $200,000, but she wanted a 30% stake in the company. Meanwhile, Kevin O'Leary wanted just 8% equity but offered the $200,000 as a loan at 9% interest to be repaid over three years. 

Unwilling to part with so much equity, Habayeb chose to take Mr. Wonderful up on his offer. During the episode, O'Leary claimed he devised the deal to spite his fellow Shark. However, in a later interview with Forbes, he shared his thought process: "I wanted to invest in Bohana as soon as I tasted their popped water lily seeds. Once I heard the numbers, the deal was sealed."

Slow steps during a pandemic

Unfortunately, Bohana's episode of "Shark Tank" aired on March 20, 2020, when most of the United States entered the COVID-19 lockdown. Like many businesses during 2020, Bohana struggled to find its footing. 

While the popularity of water lily seeds as a superfood continues to grow, the food remains obscure. Priyal Bhartia and Nadine Habayeb encountered a roadblock in needing to educate the public on the benefits and taste of their products. They were trying to create a new market, after all. Unfortunately, retail sales were primarily driven by samples and taste tests, which proved difficult to organize during the lockdowns. As Habayeh told Forbes in 2020, "Our revenue engine, which is usually sampling and demos, has been stopped. Since we have a lot of education to do early on, sampling is essential at the store level to drive sales."

Despite the global pandemic, Bohana weathered the storm and thrived. According to a 2021 press release on Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery, the Boston-based company grew by 500% in sales. In fact, the company continued to expand.

Despite success, Bohana has gone silent

Despite some stumbles after "Shark Tank," Bohana continued to thrive and frequently made the best health snack foods lists. In 2021, the company expanded its offerings of Sweet Cinnamon Drizzle, Wild White Cheddar, Sea Salt Chocolatey Drizzle, and Himalayan Pink Salt to include Zesty Ranch and Hickory BBQ. 

While Bohana sold its products through its website and Amazon, it also had a presence in health stores, primarily in the Northeast. It appeared to be on the pathway to success. However, as of 2023, it seems that its products are unavailable online. A message on its website reveals that the company is currently out of stock. 

While that doesn't bode well for the company, it may not be all doom and gloom for Bohana. In a 2023 LinkedIn message, co-founder Nadine Habayeb revealed that she and Priyal Bhartia sold the company to Texas-based Vimal Kansara, the owner of Boon Distribution. So what does the future hold for both the company and its founders?

What's next for Bohana

In a 2021 interview with Authority Magazine's Chef Vicky Colas, Nadine Habayeb expressed interest in growing Bohana beyond just a food brand. "We are starting this business as a food brand but hope to expand our vision to more than just food and apply our same values across other parts of the wellness industry," she said. However, with the buyout, both she and Priyal Bhartia have chosen to part ways with the company. 

Habayeb is currently working as a consulting director of marketing and communications for the hospitality company Ennismore — Hyde Dubai. Bhartia holds down executive and creative director roles for two companies in India (positions she's been in since the early 2010s). 

With the departure of its founders, Bohana's future remains unsure for the time being. Vimal Kansara will likely distribute the snack item through Boon Distribution in the near future. Some of the products in the company's portfolio include TEZ Mustard Oil, Tamicon, and Mother's Recipe. So perhaps, Bohana will rise again, stronger than ever.