What Happened To Rule Breaker Snacks After Shark Tank?

Being a vegan can be tough; it means scrutinizing food labels at the grocery store and being extra cautious at restaurants. One of the hardest times to be a vegan is when you're craving something sweet. Traditionally, vegans have had to learn to bake or get used to leaving that craving unsatisfied. While this paradigm is changing with the flood of vegan products seen in recent years, a decent pre-made vegan dessert is still a valuable commodity.

Not surprisingly, a number of contestants appearing on ABC's "Shark Tank" are setting out to fill a need in the burgeoning vegan marketplace (per All Shark Tank Products). From desserts to fast food, there are a lot of opportunities in the vegan market just waiting for a solution, like what happened to Altas Monroe vegan fried chicken after "Shark Tank." Entrepreneur Nancy Kalish, the founder of Rule Breaker Snacks, was one of the more appealing (and more versatile) vegan treats seen on the show. So how did Kalish fare and where is the company now?

In the Tank

Rule Breaker Snacks creator Nancy Kalish originally set out not to capitalize on the growing vegan community, but to satisfy her own sweet tooth with something healthy (via All Shark Tank Products) — or at least marginally healthy. The antecedent of the company was a pan of brownies made with black beans. They tasted terrible, but they had such a beautiful brownie texture that Kalish was inspired to keep experimenting with bean brownies until she found the right combination. The certified health coach and former health journalist struck paydirt with a chickpea-based recipe. "I thought they were gonna taste like sand, but they taste pretty good," was the unusually high praise the brand received for its P'nutter Chocolate Chip Blondie from resident "Shark Tank" curmudgeon Kevin O'Leary (per Youtube). 

The snacks are not only vegan, they're free of top allergens — and that includes common vegan dessert crutches like coconut and sesame. According to Rule Breaker Snacks, these plant-based treats are free of wheat, gluten, dairy, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, fish and shellfish, coconut and sesame, and are not made on shared equipment with any of those items, making them ideal for use in schools.

Kalish sought $400,000 for a 10% stake in her company. Unfortunately, her substantial debt ($1.6 million plus borrowing against her house) was too much for the sharks and Kalish left without an offer. But, ever the optimist, Kalish felt that she took away some good advice.

Did the sharks steer her in the right direction?

Rule Breaker Snacks creator Nancy Kalish left "Shark Tank" with nothing more than the vague advice to switch from courting supermarket sales to going direct-to-consumer with online sales because of the low profit margins she was seeing in the supermarket game — about 50 cents per cookie (via Youtube).

While Kalish may not have gotten a deal on "Shark Tank," the exposure certainly helped her fledgling company. In a March 2022 press release, Rule Breaker Snacks announced they were starting a crowd-funding campaign in order to produce at a high enough volume to keep up with the sharp rise in demand after the show. They also announced that they expect to be in 4,800 grocery stores by the end of 2022, more than double the number from before they appeared on "Shark Tank" (via All Shark Tank Products). 

The crowdfunding campaign exceeded expectations and raised more than $170,000 in two months. In addition to this cash infusion, the brand is now backed by Mexican bakery giant Grupo Bimbo (per Bakery and Snacks). But they did take the sharks advice in some capacity, as roughly 50% of their revenue now comes from direct-to-consumer sales. And that revenue is expected to be $2.2 million in 2022, a far cry from the $444,000 Kalish cleared in 2020 before "Shark Tank." Not bad after walking away from the show empty handed.