Katie Sanchez and Melissa Elms are at the helm of Bee Free Honee, a 100 percent plant-based, sustainable sweetener company—no hives required!
The two women partnered in 2013 to take Katie’s business to the next level. After getting picked up by retail chains such as Natural Grocers and Wegmans, among others, they hit the jackpot recently on an episode of ABC’s Shark Tank, a show that gives entrepreneurs a chance to pitch their products in the hope that one of the judges will invest in their business.
The company received funding to help it increase production and expand to new markets. What’s the secret to Bee Free Honee’s sweet success? It’s made from organic apples.
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During the episode, Katie told the “sharks” that “it takes over 60,000 bees to gather enough nectar for 1 pound of honey. … Let’s give these bees a rest!”
Melissa described the product as a “sweetener that tastes and bakes like traditional honey,” and “shark” Barbara Corcoran agreed. Katie continued, “Our goal is to help save the bees. Unfortunately, the population of these tiny workers is in decline. Our product helps to give the bees a break, allows them to regain in health and in numbers.”
After the “sharks” tasted Bee Free Honee, one exclaimed, “Tastes good, guys!” Mark Cuban even said, “If I walk into a grocery store with my kids and it says, ‘Buy this, save the lives of 1,000 bees,’ this is a hundred million dollar brand.”
Other vegan companies that have been successful on Shark Tank include Cinnaholic, a vegan cinnamon roll bakery chain; Heidi Ho Organics, which makes vegan cheese; and Veggie Mama, a vegan jam and popsicle company. Vegan fast-casual chain Veggie Grill also got a great shout-out from investor Chris, who said it’s “kicking ass and taking names all over America … because it’s cheap and incredibly delicious.” We couldn’t agree more.
Learn more about how honey hurts bees.