Dustin Finkel, Founder of Ka-Pop! Snacks will appear on Shark Tank on Sunday, January 19 at 9 p.m. ET to pitch his paleo-friendly ancient grain snack product. He’ll be pitching the product to sharks Lori Greiner, Barbara Corcoran, Kevin O’Leary, Mark Cuban, and guest shark Rohan Oza.
Finkel, who is from Colorado, is an adjunct marketing, strategy, and business management professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Though he loves health and fitness, he also loves eating, which led to him coming up with the idea for Ka-Pop! Snacks.
Ka-Pop! Snacks are pitched as a healthy alternative to regular chips or popcorn, allowing people who are trying to eat healthier a chance to do that while still feeling like they’re having a snack as a treat every now and then.
Here’s what you should know about Ka-Pop! snacks:
1. Finkel is a Health and Fitness Enthusiast
Ka-Pop! founder Dustin Finkel is a CrossFit instructor and a paleo diet enthusiast. As a CrossFit instructor, Finkel trains many of his neighbors and friends.
“I am hugely passionate about health and wellness…” he told the What Got You There with Sean Delaney podcast. “I try to work out in the morning, and there’s a couple reasons for that, one is I do think it really helps set the foundation for the day. It’s so hard to get up, get motivated… so I really like to get a good morning’s workout and because you never know what the day is going to hold.”
According to the Ka-Pop website, Finkel is constantly battling the desire to watch every ingredient he puts in his body with the desire to just enjoy eating. He tells the story of how he ate a ton of empty calories and bad fats in “healthy chips” one night before he realized there had to be a better way.
2. The Snacks are Made From Ancient Grains
All Ka-Pop! chips are made from ancient grains, which, according to their website, unlock “the magic,” allowing snacks to taste better, have desireable texture, and nourish bodies. They are also regenerative to the land on which they grow, which maintains nutrient-rich soil.
Ancient grains are grains that have not been crossbred, genetically modified, or hybridized. They offer essential vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, and antioxidants. The Whole Grains Council defines ancient grains as grains that are largely unchanged over the last several hundred years.
Ka-Pop! sources all the ingredients they use for their products from farmers and vendors located within the U.S. Ingredients include sorghum flour, sunflower oil or olive oil depending on the flavor, an array of vegan seasonings, and sea salt.
3. The First Products Tester Was Their Picky Six Year Old
After Finkel and his wife began testing ancient grains to see how they popped and what they’d taste like when prepared, they needed someone to try the product to see if it would appeal to other people. So, they enlisted the help of the first person they could think of: their insanely picky six-year-old, Marek.
After Marek tested the chips, he wouldn’t stop asking for more. That’s when Finkel and his wife knew they were onto something. They then took the chips to their neighbors, friends, and family members to see if they would like them.
“I have never seen a response to a product this positive,” Finkel writes on the about page of the website. “Everyone kept asking for more!”
He goes on to say that healthy snacks don’t have to be serious and boring. They can be made with great-tasting nutritious ingredients and still satisfy the urge to snack.
4. They Were In Kraft Heinz Startup Incubator
Kraft Heinz launched a startup Springboard program in 2018. Ka-Pop! was chosen for the second cohort of the program in March 2019. Ka-Pop! joined other startups ranging from allergen-free nutrition bars to cold-pressed almond juice in the program.
Startups in the Springboard participate in a 16-week program in Chicago. There, they receive business training, workspace, and other resources to help their businesses thrive. On top of that, each company received $50,000 at the start of the program with the potential to earn another $50,000 during the program.
Thousands of companies apply for the program, but only a handful are given the chance to actually be a part of the Springboard. It was also a possible chance for venture capitalists to become interested in the company.
5. They Come in Five Flavors
At the time of writing, Ka-Pop! chips come in five different flavors. They come in Rosemary Garlic Chips, Dairy-Free Cheddar Chips, Red and Green Sriracha Chips, Salt and Vinegar Chips, and Olive Oil and Sea Salt Chips. They can be ordered in one-ounce or three-ounce varieties and come in a four-pack or 12-pack.
A four-pack of the three-ounce packages sells for 14.99 on their website, while a 12-pack can be bought for $43.99. The 12-pack of the one-ounce packages costs $17.49. The three-ounce variety pack has four different flavors and sells for $15.99. The product is also sold on Amazon.
Tune in to Shark Tank on Sunday, January 19, 2020 to see if Dustin Finkel and Ka-Pop! Snacks can score a deal with one of the sharks.