Noshi: Here's What Happened After Shark Tank

It's rare to hear a parent thank their children for being picky eaters, but entrepreneur Tomo Delaney credits that relatable struggle as the impetus for creating Noshi, an edible food paint made for kids from organic fruit purées. Appearing on episode 12, season 14 of "Shark Tank," Delaney's journey to create Noshi is a lesson in dedication and perseverance that parents globally may benefit from.

In February 2015, Delaney was a stay-at-home dad looking to reinvent his career when a friend suggested that his kids might be more apt to eat if the food was presented by color. Within two months, Delaney put together a Kickstarter campaign to raise $20,000 to bring Noshi to fruition and caught the attention of the show's producers. Delaney, in a mixture of excitement and stress, spoke with producers. Although they were interested in the idea, Noshi was still a concept at this stage. Over the next two years, Delaney worked with food scientists to create a shelf-stable product, and in 2017 he launched Noshi into several retailers. 

Although it had some initial successes, personal and professional problems stalled the company's progress. So in 2022, Delaney took a chance by emailing six old "Shark Tank" contacts from 2015 to fill them in on Noshi's progress. Delaney heard back immediately and was working with producers within six weeks to prepare for his upcoming pitch to Sharks — Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Kevin O'Leary, Barbara Corcoran, and Daymond John.

What happened to Noshi on Shark Tank?

When Delaney was in front of the Sharks on September 11, 2022, Noshi's dismal sales had forced it out of several retailers, including Albertsons and Safeway, but he had a successful three-year contract in 370 Walmarts. Delaney secured licensing deals with Crayola, Peppa Pig, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Daniel the Tiger, but he needed investors to bring down costs and ramp sales. 

Delaney requested a $250,000 initial investment for 17% equity in Noshi. When pressed on the numbers, all the Sharks agreed that Noshi had terrible margins. A three-pack of Crayola licensed food paint cost  $2.72 to make, sold wholesale for $3.70, and retailed for $5.46. Although Delaney planned on using the funding to purchase machinery that would cut the cost by $0.60 per unit, most of the Sharks weren't impressed.

O'Leary was the first to pass on the deal, followed by Greiner, citing flat sales and Delaney's personal situation as red flags. Corcoran was next, adding she didn't believe in where Noshi was positioned in the market or how it was sold. She thought Noshi would be better marketed as a gift than to sit on the shelves next to Heinz ketchup or Smucker's jelly, competing for sales.

John expanded on Corcoran's thoughts, agreeing that Noshi seemed more like a novelty item, and believed parents would resist spending $6 per meal for the product. But Cuban saw the opportunity and offered $250,000 for 25% equity, and Delaney jumped (or rather, hugged) to make a deal. 

Noshi after Shark Tank

Although it seems like a foregone conclusion, deals often fall through after the episode airs, but not this one. In an interview with Joe Pardo, Delaney reveals that Cuban is actively involved in their partnership, and the two often speak via email. Delaney says Cuban's advice is consistently good, beginning with Cuban's initial concerns regarding the packaging, which has since been updated to reveal more of the product. 

Delaney credits the show's producers for preparing him for weeks for his pitch, repeatedly making him practice, and ultimately leading him to success. He recalls how surreal standing before the five Sharks was, but also how a sense of calm fell over him the moment he was on the stage. Part of his preparation was meeting with "Shark Tank" business managers to estimate the value of Noshi and figure out how much he should ask for. Based on an agreed-upon $1.5 million valuation, Delaney came up with his proposal and ultimately secured the funding needed to buy equipment and ramp up production.

Leaving the tank, Delaney's first task was to prepare for the episode airing on April 2023 by finding a new co-packaging company that could handle the anticipated increase in production. This was a daunting task for Delaney, especially since he owned his machinery, but it was necessary since he had already secured distribution of SketchUp to 1500 Walmarts and expected to continue to grow. 

Is Noshi still in business?

It's only been a few months since Noshi appeared on "Shark Tank," and business seems to be expanding. Noshi products are available online at several retailers, including Amazon and Walmart. An Instagram post from April announced that Walmart would carry Peppa Pig and Crayola edible food paint and Sketchup; however, Walmart's website doesn't currently support that statement.

Online, Walmart is now only selling a three-pack of Crayola Food Paint for $5.46. Amazon has the same product listed for $8.98 and Peppa Pig Food Paint for $10.99. Each box contains one tube of raspberry, mango, and grape purée certified organic and vegan without gluten, dairy, soy, nuts, eggs, GMOs, artificial colors, or artificial flavors.

Noshi's website lists three products, Peppa Pig Food Paint, Crayola Food Paint, and Sketchup, available in cases of six boxes for $34.95, but they are all sold out. The site says it's taking pre-orders for the next production run, with an estimated delivery date of June 25, but no updates are available at the moment.

What's next for Noshi?

Delaney describes Noshi's target audience as millennial moms and dads who are more relaxed about mealtime than previous generations. Instead of being regimented and forcing children to sit at the table until their plate was clean, Delaney tapped into the modern approach younger parents were using, which he calls more "laissez-faire." Noshi was created to empower children at mealtime, not to "cure" picky eaters. It's meant to help avoid conflict and make the dining experience more enjoyable. It may seem novel, but there might be some science to back up the idea that creating a fun mealtime experience rather than removing undesirable food (or swapping it out for something kid-approved) can actually help so-called picky-eaters consume a wider range of food (per the Association for Behavior Analysis International).

Recently on Instagram, Noshi posted new 10-ounce products, resembling tubes of children's acrylic paint containing organic dips and dressing, seeking feedback from its followers. The new items include Chick'n Dip, Sketchup, Mustart, and Crayonnaise (ranch dressing). The packaging features the Noshi mascot but is without its licensing partners. When a user commented that she'd like a barbecue sauce version, Noshi responded, alluding to it being in the works. Perhaps, the upcoming Chick'n Dip is barbecue sauce in disguise.

Noshi products are marketed for every meal and suggest that its fruit purées are an excellent tool for cake decorating at every age, encroaching on Wilton territory and the big players in the cake decorating industry. It'll be interesting to see what else Noshi comes out with, and where eager parents will see it next.