Whatever Happened To IncrEdible Eats After Shark Tank?

As sustainability becomes an increasingly pressing topic in our society, IncrEdible Eats found an inventive solution to a pressing problem. The company is known for its wide assortment of edible cutlery and utensils such as spoons, forks, and straws. Their texture is similar to that of a cookie but is sturdy enough to help you eat a variety of foods. The utensils themselves are vegan and come in sweet and savory flavors including chocolate, vanilla, oregano, and black pepper. 

IncrEdible Eats is the brainchild of engineer and entrepreneur Dinesh Tadepalli. The South Indian native moved to the United States to receive his Master's degree in Electrical Engineering, which granted him a successful career for several years. While getting ice cream with his children one day, Tadepalli was mortified when he saw a trash can full to the brim with plastic utensils. It was there that he began thinking about how his small actions had long-term consequences — eating his ice cream only took about 10 minutes, but the plastic left behind would be sitting in a landfill for tens or even hundreds of years.

Tadepalli searched for alternatives to plastic utensils and came across companies that sold edible spoons. Realizing that no one had yet tried to scale this market, Tadepalli and business partner Kruvil Patel set out to make their mark, starting the business in 2019. Tadepalli went all in, getting into trade shows and even selling his own home to set up better production facilities. The chance to grow his newfound passion would soon come when he was given the chance to appear on "Shark Tank" Season 13. 

What happened to IncrEdible Eats on Shark Tank?

On October 22, 2021, IncrEdible Eats' "Shark Tank" segment aired. Founder Dinesh Tadepalli appears on the ABC reality show seeking a $500,000 investment for 7% of his business.  The sharks try their samples and enjoy the rich assortment of flavors. Tadepalli shares that they didn't have as many options available when starting out because food services didn't want to distract from the taste of their own products. 

The spoons sell for $0.20 and cost $0.10 to make; this is higher than a plastic utensil, which costs $0.01 to $0.02. Over IncrEdible Eats' two years in business, the company has brought in $170,000. While the brand experienced healthy growth in its first year providing its products to food services, the COVID-19 pandemic saw Tadepalli pivot to a direct-to-consumer business model through the company's website. Even with these hurdles, Tadepalli can't contain his excitement for being on the show and making an impact with IncrEdible Eats. He explains that he still works as an engineer but has been dedicated to working on this passion every night and has succeeded in selling over 1 million spoons. 

Barbara Corcoran adores the entrepreneur and his enthusiasm but thinks he's blinded by it and goes out. However, the other four sharks, even if they don't agree with the $7 million valuation, make their own offers. All are willing to give $500,000, but Kevin O'Leary wants 35%, Lori Greiner wants 15%, Mark Cuban wants 20%, and Daniel Lubetzky wants 25%. Tadepalli sees if any shark will go for 12% and Mark Cuban goes out. In the end, he goes with Greiner, who comes closest to the equity portion he sought out. 

IncrEdible Eats after Shark Tank

Dinesh Tadepalli's deal with investor Lori Greiner never closed, with the entrepreneur stating that the deal terms were altered after the show. This too is not uncommon on "Shark Tank," especially when it comes to deals with Greiner. As a result, Tadepalli never received the $500,000 Greiner proposed, which halted his plans to scale. His segment birthed $50,000 in sales over the next two days, but they all had to be placed as pre-orders due to inventory issues. 

Thankfully, even without Greiner, his "Shark Tank" appearance was able to help birth some new partnerships. In January 2022, IncrEdible Eats announced its collaboration with the ice cream company Dippin' Dots, which would be in the process of sampling their vanilla and chocolate-flavored spoons before distributing them nationwide. "Providing an edible spoon with our ice cream is a win-win for everyone," said Dippin' Dots National Accounts Director Bryan Carney in a press statement. "It elevates our ice cream, it saves our planet from waste and it aligns with the message many of our partners are trying to convey. We are so excited to kick-off this partnership and we can't wait for our customers to try these delicious spoons."

IncrEdible Eats nearly had another partnership with an undisclosed major fast food chain that disposes of 70 million plastic utensils annually. However, the chain's financial team deemed their products too expensive and instead offered to sell the cutlery individually as a snack item, which Tadepalli refused. In 2021, the company received a $200,000 investment from Big Idea Ventures.

Is IncrEdible Eats still in business?

IncrEdible Eats sells most of its items online. On the company's website, visitors can find their array of edible spoons, sporks, and straws for sale ranging in price from $0.99 to $9.99 depending on the quantity. The site also has a section for food services that offers as many as 1,000 utensils for $100. IncrEdible Eats is also featured on Amazon where their products are largely sold in bulk. 

In a 2022 interview with TrepTalks, founder Dinesh Tadepalli stated that they also sold in the gourmet food sections of between 300 and 400 TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Home Goods locations. The team chose these stores because they didn't have the same marketing or distribution problems as other retailers. However, they consistently sold out at these locations, and with inventory being an ever-present issue, they have had trouble restocking. It's unknown if their items are still available from these retailers or not, but given that their website lacks a store locator section, it's safe to assume that direct-to-consumer is what has worked best for the business. 

Nevertheless, IncrEdible Eats' partnership with Dippin' Dots has been paying off. The brand can be found alongside Dippin' Dots products at the Cowabunga Vegas Waterpark in Nevada, Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies in Tennessee, and even the international airline Icelandair. IncrEdible Eats has been featured at notable events such as the 2022 Winter Fancy Food Show and outlets such as Food and Wine. The company currently has an estimated annual revenue of $500,000 with a net worth of about $2 million. 

What's next for IncrEdible Eats?

Who knows where IncrEdible Eats could have been by now had its "Shark Tank" deal gone through? With a brand dedicated to sustainable efforts, the company has the potential to appeal to countless consumers in today's market. Sadly, with inventory, marketing, and distribution issues in the way, there are still numerous hurdles for the team to overcome before achieving their desired scale. But that hasn't stopped founder Dinesh Tadepalli from thinking big.

The IncrEdible's website has a section for investment opportunities, where they also shared their plans for 2024. The company plans to add to its varied product line with new items such as chopsticks, boba straws, and coffee stirrers. The team also has hopes to expand its operations internationally after receiving offers from hundreds of businesses from over 30 countries. By bringing production from India to North America, this will also aid in cutting down on shipping costs, item prices, and carbon emissions.

The bottom of IncrEdible's homepage reads, "By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans (by weight). You can help preserve nature by switching from plastic and eating your spoon." This may seem like a long way off, but IncrEdible Eats aims to emphasize the urgency of this dilemma, with Tadepalli even stating that he does not plan on making any money from the company until they reduce the utilization of single-use plastics by 100 million. Such integrity is rare to find in an entrepreneur, but it is the perfect example of why businesses like IncrEdible Eats deserve to thrive.