Spoonful Of Comfort: Here's What Happened After Shark Tank

In times of sickness and distress, most of us turn to a bowl of comfort food to soothe some of the troubles — hot chicken soup to warm the bones, creamy mac and cheese to curl up to, or some gooey chocolate chip cookies to eat by the dozen. It's even better when the soul food comes from someone you love, perhaps someone living miles away but who still wishes to send you comfort when you need it the most. That was precisely what Marti Wymer's business Spoonful of Comfort was doing when it appeared on the Season 8 premiere of "Shark Tank."

The idea for Spoonful of Comfort came from a personal tragedy: When Wymer's mother, who lived thousands of miles away, was diagnosed with lung cancer in October 2007, the entrepreneur went online to look for something to send her mom much-needed love and comfort. Hoping to be able to deliver the same chicken soup that her mother made to comfort her, Wymer was disappointed to find that there was nothing but fruits, flowers, and candy that could be sent.

Although her mother passed away six weeks later, Wymer realized that there was a need for comfort food delivery for people in similar situations as hers, who just wanted to send some comfort to their loved ones despite being far apart. With a $500,000 investment from her husband's work colleague Scott Gustafson, Wymer launched Spoonful of Comfort: delivering care packages with ready-to-eat comforting meals anywhere across the country.

What happened to Spoonful of Comfort on Shark Tank?

While the Sharks liked Spoonful of Comfort's soups, it wasn't quite enough to make the $400,000 in exchange for 10% of equity a lucrative investment. The first kicker came when the Sharks realized that the family-sized care packages were $69.99 with another $14.99 for standard shipping and a whopping $39.99 for overnight delivery. The Sharks were also stunned by Gustafson's total investment of $1.3 million, which meant that the business had already received significant funding. Although Spoonful of Comfort had made $1.08 million in sales the year before its appearance on the show, the Sharks weren't entirely convinced. The entrepreneurs were spending $31 on manufacturing costs and another $18 on customer acquisition, making Spoonful of Comfort's margins incredibly slim.

Barbara Corcoran told the entrepreneurs that she thought their business was going to fail, making her the first Shark to back out. Mark Cuban thought that Spoonful of Comfort was more a marketing business than a food one, Daymond John couldn't see it growing, Robert Herjavec thought that there were still too many kinks to iron out, and Kevin O'Leary couldn't figure out how to bring their customer acquisition costs down. Lori Greiner too said that while Spoonful of Comfort may be big enough to sustain the two entrepreneurs, she simply didn't see any room for an investor to get their money back. The result? Spoonful of Comfort walked out of "Shark Tank" without any offers on the table.

Spoonful of Comfort after Shark Tank

Wymer and Gustafson left the Tank without a single offer on the table, let alone a deal, and were expectedly disappointed with the outcome. Corcoran had told the entrepreneurs that their business would never work and had suggested while leaving that Gustafson leave the soon-to-sink business too. Wymer later told the "Shark Tank Podcast" that Corcoran's comments were "harsh," adding in another interview to the New York Post that "we got chewed up and spit out by the Sharks."

While the feedback from the Sharks certainly wasn't what the entrepreneurs had expected, it wasn't all bad news. As the history of "Shark Tank" has shown, simply appearing on the show can do volumes for businesses. The show ensures nationwide publicity, bringing in new customers from all across the country, and with them, more sales — a phenomenon that has been unofficially dubbed the "Shark Tank Effect." The same was the case with Spoonful of Comfort: The entrepreneurs said that there was a spike in customer calls after their episode aired, and the company's revenue was growing rapidly (per YouTube).

Is Spoonful of Comfort still in business?

The Sharks have years of expertise and are usually spot-on with their feedback, but Spoonful of Comfort is one of those businesses that have proved the Sharks wrong. Spoonful of Comfort is still very much in business and has come a long way since its appearance on the show. At the time, Spoonful of Comfort's selling point its chicken soup-for-the-sick, with bread rolls and cookies as sidekicks to make the package even more comforting.

While the structure of the packages is more or less the same, they've expanded their range of offerings to include more soups like chicken chowder, garden vegetable, or broccoli and cheddar. Customers can also choose a vegan or a gluten-free soup package, or ditch the soup altogether for a big tub of mac and cheese — or a box of pie. The packages still come with bread rolls and cookies — with options like snickerdoodle and triple chocolate chunk on the menu.

One of the biggest concerns about Spoonful of Comfort on "Shark Tank" though was its steep pricing with added delivery costs — and, unfortunately, nothing seems to have changed there. On the contrary, the prices have gone up: The 32-ounce chicken noodle soup package with six bread rolls and cookies which was priced at $69.99 before is now listed at $99.99 on the website, with some boxes costing upwards of $104.99. That said, standard and overnight shipping costs have slightly dropped to $9.99 and $29.99 respectively.

What's next for Spoonful of Comfort Shark Tank?

Soon after appearing on "Shark Tank," Wymer and Gustafson told "Shark Tank Podcast" that they would like to reduce their prices and open more distribution facilities to cut down on shipping costs in the future. They were also considering offering smaller packages for individuals as opposed to just family-sized boxes. While none of those things seem to have happened so far, they may very well still be options for the future.

Wymer and Gustafson have also gone on to add more knick-knacks to their comfort food packages, partnering with different businesses to offer their customers a selection of add-ons. Some of their optional items include wellness journals, coloring books, and puzzles that can be added at an extra cost. They've also pivoted from just comfort food to care packages in general, offering things like sick day boxes with Kleenex, cough drops, Spoonful of Comfort's cookies, as well as cuddle packages for kids that come with soft toys and reading books. 

If that is any indication, Spoon of Comfort's future seems to have more than just chicken soup — it may be looking to become a one-stop-shop for all care package needs in general. Plus, the entrepreneurs also seem to be in tune with the weather, introducing s'mores kits in the summer and boxes with hot cocoa and blankets in the winter. Safe to say, there will be fresh goodies in the care packages depending on the changing of seasons in the future!