Fresh Bellies: Here's What Happened After Shark Tank

The idea that flavorful food is for everyone — regardless of age — is what drove Saskia Sorrosa to create Fresh Bellies. Just because little hands are doing the snacking does not mean that the tastes have to be bland. Fresh Bellies makes crunchy, nutritious, veggie-forward snacks flavored with bold spices and interesting combinations, but that isn't where this company first focused. The main offering has evolved from baby food, but the intention behind it remains the same. The founders of Fresh Bellies are on a mission to make it easy and accessible to introduce young children to a wide variety of flavors, helping them to broaden their palates at an early age.

Fresh Bellies is not the only product aimed at helping picky eaters that has made an appearance on "Shark Tank." Kid-friendly meal delivery service Yumble, Noshi edible paint, and FunBites food cutters have all taken a dive into Shark-infested waters with products of their own. In 2019, founder Sorrosa appeared on Season 10, Episode 13 in front of investors Robert Herjavec, Kevin O'Leary, Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, and guest Shark Charles Barkley.

What happened to Fresh Bellies on Shark Tank?

Saskia Sorrosa set up the issue with most baby food products on the market — they completely obscure the taste of vegetables with tons of fruit sugars. After a bit of a dramatic demonstration with a ton of white sugar and fresh fruit, she pulled down the black curtains to reveal the display for Fresh Bellies — purees and snacks made with vegetables, spices, and savory flavors.

Sorrosa explained the brief time in a child's life known as the flavor window. This period between four and seven months is when a baby is most receptive to unfamiliar flavors, and feeding them veggies masked by fruit sugar makes it more likely that they will be averse to more savory and bitter tastes. The Sharks sampled purees including cauliflower and bell pepper, broccoli and Swiss chard, and golden beet. The snacks were shown but were not a focus of the pitch.

Sorrosa was seeking $275,000 in exchange for 5% equity, but Fresh Bellies only had about $100,000 in sales in its first six months. Kevin O'Leary said it would be nearly impossible to get this product onto competitive refrigerated shelves. Charles Barkley and Mark Cuban both questioned the accessibility for families most in need of this product given the price since Sorrosa pointed to their mission of combating childhood obesity. Ultimately, due to the difficulties of educating the consumer, significant investment costs, and some iffiness with the flavors, Sorrosa left with no deal.

Fresh Bellies after Shark Tank

As hard as it was to leave without the investment that Fresh Bellies clearly needed, it does seem like the Sharks were onto something. As Saskia Sorrosa mentioned in her "Shark Tank" pitch, retailers seemed poised to invest in the refrigerated baby food segment and were not even proposing slotting fees in discussions Sorrosa had with them regarding shelving Fresh Bellies.

In fact, some retailers started adding refrigerated shelf space to baby food aisles anticipating growth in this area. Because they had to discontinue other products to make this room, prices of an already expensive product were driven up even more. Retailers ended up having to cut back citing that consumers just were not willing to pay for the premium prices.

In 2019 — the same year as the "Shark Tank" appearance — Sorrosa moved Fresh Bellies out of the refrigerated baby food market and decided to focus exclusively on crunchy snacks. She told FoodNavigator-USA that the high costs and competitiveness of refrigerated shelf space made it unsustainable for the young company. By focusing on toddler snacks, Fresh Bellies dramatically increased its business. The company went from only being in a few hundred stores to selling in around 4,000 in 2020.

Is Fresh Bellies still in business?

It turns out that Saskia Sorrosa made the right move for Fresh Bellies. The company is still in business and now has three main product lines geared at different age groups — toddlers, pre-schoolers, and adults. Toddler-approved, freeze-dried snacks include Strawberry Feels Forever (strawberry and balsamic vinegar), Two to Mango (mango and basil), Pepperlicious (roasted red pepper and sea salt), Keep Calm and Cardamom (apples and cardamom), Party Like a Piña (pineapple and chile de árbol), and Peas and Love (snap peas and cumin). Many of these were part of the original offerings. From 2019 to 2020, the business for these toddler-focused snacks grew 300% and then doubled by 2021.

Groovies are the new line, and these are aimed at older preschool-aged kids and the rest of the family. These come in Turn up the Beet (beet, onion, and paprika), Shroomtastic (mushroom, sage, and onion), Broc N' Roll (broccoli, garlic, and thyme), and the self-explanatory Rosemary's Carrot. Pre-school Groovies and adult Groovies have the same flavors, but the snacks for the whole family are a bit more heavily seasoned and salted than the ones meant just for kids. The packaging is also larger and does not have the typical kid-focused branding.

What is next for Saskia Sorrosa and Fresh Bellies?

Saskia Sorrosa left a high-level position as vice president of marketing at the National Basketball Association to start Fresh Bellies in 2016 because she was so passionate about the mission and product. As a parent, she really wanted to create healthy, real-food snacks for her kids with fresh and interesting flavors like the foods she grew up eating as a child in Ecuador. That focus continues to drive her forward.

Sorrosa has done numerous interviews with publications like The Newsette, People en Español, Forbes, and where she talks about her passion for her business and her experience as a Latina entrepreneur. In March 2024, Fresh Bellies' products were even featured on a segment dedicated to highlighting women-owned, nutritious food companies on "The Today Show."

Given how the products took off, it does not look like Sorrosa is calling it quits anytime soon. Fresh Bellies' social media platforms remain active, and most of the products are available directly through the website. Fresh Bellies snacks can also be found in a long list of stores including Target, Sprouts, Walmart, Whole Foods, and Kroger. Fans of the brand can also buy merchandise directly from the website as well.