According to the two entrepreneurs behind Jada Spices, a company out of Los Angeles, CA, we're still cooking with caveman spices. The only innovation to come along since then has been MSG and unhealthy additives. Fortunately, Jada Spices is here to introduce America to Vegan Chicken Salt, a healthy alternative to table salt and/or chicken bouillon, if that's your thing. But that's not all! Jada Spices is also preparing to launch a new "plant-based chicken" product.
What the hell is Chicken Salt? One of the entrepreneurs was originally from Iran but spent some time in Australia where, apparently, Chicken Salt is a third condiment along with regular salt and pepper. But Jada Spices' chicken salt has been entirely reformulated so as not to need the chicken stock, MSG, or... salt, because being low in sodium is also important.
The Vegan Chicken Salt comes in turmeric, lime, barbecue, red pepper, and "reduced sodium" flavors.
When the entrepreneurs demo their product, they use the chicken salt on pop corn and french fries while demonstrating their "chicken product" on skewers.
The entrepreneurs say that all other vegetable chicken products are made from soy and are very high in salt. The Jada Spices chicken product is made from pea fiber and textured wheat. It comes dry in a pouch and can be molded into a nugget shape by mixing in oil and water. And if that doesn't get you hungry, nothing will!
The sharks all seem to like the chicken salt but they all seem to be blown away by the chicken. Even Barbara exclaims that it tastes exactly like chicken. (No word on the texture.
In terms of sales, Jada Spices has earned $319,000 in the year this episode aired so far, with $60,000 in EBITDA. They project earning $500,000 by the end of the year. One unit of chicken salt costs $0.80 landed but retails between $4.99 and $8.99 on Amazon. The entrepreneurs claim that they're the number one salt on Amazon, outselling Lawry's
The chicken product does not yet have any sales but the entrepreneurs say that it's "ready to launch".
Both of the entrepreneurs behind Jada Spices are successful outside of this business. One is an engineer who runs a successful consulting business while the other, as mentioned, came from Iran and runs a successful dermatology practice. They met in college.
Making A Deal
Lori says right off the bat that she likes the chicken salt fine but what really interests her is the chicken.
Kevin expresses worry that because the two entrepreneurs are successful outside of Jada Spices, he's not sure he would be able to get them on the phone. This despite both entrepreneurs trying to express their passion for the business. He drops out.
Daymond says the sheer number of products they have is frightening to him as is trying to move into an entirely new product category with their chicken product. The fact that they're not working full time on the business also scares him and he states that he's just not sure how he would see his investment returned. Maybe he would see it back in six or seven years? But that's too long for him. But he doesn't yet go out.
Barbara finally brings some common sense to the table and says that she likes that they've been making Jada Spices a success while working other jobs. Her problem is that she wants a bigger share of the business. Rather than being a 20% equity partner, she wants to be equal with them and offers $250,000 for 33% of the business.
Then Mark goes back to the outside job thing (something he should know better to do given he was the investor in Sanaia Apple Sauce) and says that with as difficult as the spice game and vegan product game is, he thinks it would be tough for them to succeed while working full time jobs. So he's out.
Finally, Lori comes back in and says that she loves the chicken and the salts are good but her problem is that the chicken isn't ready to go (or not ready enough for her liking). So... out.
Then Daymond pipes back up and says that it's making him nervous that they haven't yet answered Barbara's offer and the entrepreneur says that Barbara was the shark they came in wanting to make a deal with but tries to counter her at 28% plus all the free skin exams she could want. But she says it's no use because her face is so full of Botox. She wants the 33% because she wants to be seen and heard as an equal partner.
The entrepreneurs accept and Barbara continues to be one of the sharkiest of the sharks, biting almost $500,000 off the very reasonable $1,250,000 valuation they came in with. But, in the hallway, the entrepreneurs state that it was okay with them because they wanted to partner with her since she had invested in the most food businesses. (Spoiler alert... she hasn't!)
So... first, let's get this out of the way. Just because someone is successful in what they're currently doing, it doesn't mean they can't be passionate about their new project and intend to move to it full time once it's stable enough. But the sharks seem to react as if they're not dedicated enough to the idea.
Take Sanaia Apple Sauce from Season Ten. This entrepreneur was providing for several members of her family with her job and that was why she hadn't moved full time to her new project. Your Stats Shark's wife looked at him and said about the dermatologist during this deal, "He might be supporting his mother or siblings" since his father had died when he was younger. Which might be true! There could be several reasons why a doctor hasn't exited their practice yet, including agreements with partners or commitments to employers. But it's a strange thing to hold against an entrepreneur. Last time it was Mark who recognised this and invested, this time it was Barbara.
Now, let's talk about who has invested the most in food businesses. Firstly, your Stats Shark classifies any business who's primary goal is selling some kind of food product that would sell in a grocery store as a food business. Yes, The Fat Shack might sell food but they do so as a retail service. Jada Spices would sell through Safeway or Piggly Wiggly.
Given this distinction, up until this episode, Barbara had invested in twenty-one food companies, the last being Go Oats from the second episode where as Mark had invested in twenty-four with his last being P-Nuff Crunch from the same episode. But what if we exclude Season Twelve deals since no one pitching in the tank this season would know the results? Including food deals up until and including Season Eleven], Mark is still the clear winner. Barbara had invested in twenty businesses while Mark had twenty-three with six in Season Eleven alone!
These numbers are slightly fungible. One might discount one of Mark's investments last season because it was a pet food company. Or perhaps they should each only get half credit because they both invested in Bee Free Honee in Season Seven. But even when one plays around with the numbers in this way, Mark has still the clear winner in terms of who has invested the most in food business.
In case anyone is curious, the next most number of investments is tied at nine between Daymond and Lori Mr. Wonderful has invested in seven and Robert brings up the rear with just five. Mind you, these numbers are as of this deal's airing and could change in just the next episode.
- Lawry's is a seasoned salt made by the massive American spice company, McCormick. Don't worry, we had to look it up, too.