The food industry always seems to be booming with big ideas, but those ideas seldom have tastes that stand uniquely on their own. Makenzie Marzluff is a culinary visionary who has always had a strong entrepreneurial spirit. In her youth, she dreamt of owning her own restaurant while watching shows on The Food Network. She grew up to study nutrition and focused her efforts on opening a handful of businesses, including a nutrition consulting practice, a Pilates studio, and a smoothie bar. She learned what worked in owning a business, what didn’t work, and how to stand out in an overly saturated market.
In 2014, Mackenzie wanted to surprise guests at a party with a healthy cookie dough dip. She threw chickpeas in a blender with “upgraded” sweet ingredients (coconut milk, organic sugar, and pure vanilla extract), creating the very first dessert hummus. A year of creating flavors such as brownie batter, snickerdoodle, orange-ginger, and oatmeal raisin, Marzluff realized no one else had tapped into the market with hummus quite like hers. She and her partner worked to get a loan for $10,000, and they launched Delighted By, selling at local farmers’ markets.
Delighted By Enters The Shark Tank
Shark Tank Season 9 Episode 4
Makenzie Marzluff walked onto the Shark Tank stage, introducing herself as an entrepreneur from Los Angeles. Her presentation began by asking if the Sharks all had a sweet tooth that needed to be satisfied. After all, most people walk past aisles full of sugary snacks while grocery shopping. Most of the time, something from those aisles ends up in the cart because the temptation is too strong.
Makenzie presented her dessert hummus as a guilt-free dessert alternative. At 5g of sugar per serving, 100% non-GMO, gluten-free, and vegan, people could indulge on Delighted By hummus without remorse. The Sharks welcomed their taste buds up to the offer to “dip in and be delighted” with four different samples: Brownie batter hummus on pretzels, snickerdoodle hummus on apple slices, vanilla bean hummus on graham crackers, and choco-mint humus on a cupcake.
The result? It was clear the Sharks were sold on the taste.
Delighted By’s numbers were even more impressive. Success in the refrigerated section of grocery stores is notoriously tricky. Marzluff was able to hit the $1 million mark in gross sales within 13 months of launching her business, guided by sheer determination. She rented a van and drove to every Wegmans store on the East Coast to deliver her product, sleeping on coolers of hummus along the way. Her product was currently in 1200 stores. Marzluff requested $600,000 in exchange for 12% of her Delighted By from the Sharks.
When asked how much she had invested so far, Mackenzie told Alex that she had personally put in $20,000 and raised $400,000 from friends and family. Her business was assessed at $4 million after her first round of investments. She also mentioned her sales projection was $1.5 million. Kevin had concerns that other big players would quickly hack their own versions of her products. Still, he saw the potential and offered $600,000 as a loan at 11% interest with 6% equity.
Alex said that in a business such as hers, he would be happy to pay 5 to 10 times net earnings. But since she was asking for more than 30 times that, he wasn’t willing to offer a deal.
Mark suggested the hummus may be too difficult to sell on grocery shelves. He asked Marzluff if she would be open to selling in a more creative setting, similar to an ice cream shop, so customers could actively taste it. He didn’t see her as a competitor against other hummus brands and flavors. Yet, her products were being sold side by side next to traditional hummus on the shelves. Kevin thought the idea of a hummus-like ice cream shop was crazy. Barbara agreed it was a bad idea. But Mark welcomed his thoughts being called crazy; after all, the business owners who made him the most money were the craziest in their fields.
Mark also asked Marzluff what she felt was missing in terms of a team, and how she would spend the money if she were to accept an offer from the Sharks. Mackenzie told him she would use an offer for operational support. She would follow the advice of brokers and hire a VP of sales with part of the money.
Barbara thought Marzluff would have a difficult time building relationships hiring the right people. Since Barbara didn’t believe delegating was Mackenzie’s forte, she was out.
Mark offered $600,000 in exchange for 25%, as long as specific benchmarks were made. Mackenzie asked if he was confident they could build an $80 million business, and he said he believed they could.
After some careful thought, Mackenzie accepted Mark’s offer to help build a fantastic company off of the already genius product. She left the Shark Tank with a vision of her dessert hummus being a staple at house parties regularly.
Life for Delighted By after Shark Tank
Almost overnight, Mackenzie saw substantial growth in her business. Awareness and education on her product nearly quadrupled. Orders and interest increased in such large numbers; she had to hire a larger team to keep up.
Within the second year in business, Delighted By reached the $5 million mark in sales, and all flavors have been certified Kosher.
Per an interview by Business 2 Community, she is also looking at new retailers interested in picking up her spreadable dessert in their stores. Her goal? National distribution of Delighted By hummus.
Today, it appears that Mackenzie is working hard on her nation-wide goal. Her products are no longer sold solely in Wegmans. You can now purchase Delighted By ‘ products in large retailers such as Acme, Walmart, Target, Good Foods Grocery, Publix, and more. Her dream of becoming the first national dessert hummus has become a reality.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is strictly informational; INSIGNIA SEO is not affiliated with Delighted By Hummus, SharkTank, or any of its subsidiaries.