Theresa and Robert Frejo of Laguna Niguel, California, are the founders of Veggie Mama Garden Pops, frozen fruit and vegetable pops produced with organic agave nectar. Cucumber Citrus, Carrot Berry, and Sweet Potato Pie are among the flavors.
Veggie Mama is also gluten- and dairy-free, making them an excellent vegan snack. Mark Cuban and Barbara Corcoran invested $75,000 in Veggie Mama Garden Pops in exchange for 20% ownership of the company in 2013.
What is Veggie Mama?
Veggie Mama is the frozen fruit, and veggie snack includes carrot-berry, citrus-cucumber, and sweet potato pie. They are nutrient-dense and produced entirely from natural materials.
Veggie Mama pops are an excellent way to introduce children and adults to vegetables. The premium sweets contain zero added sugar and only pure agave nectar for sweetness.
They are dairy- and animal-free, gluten-free, and contain no GMO ingredients. Veggie Mama bars are sold online and in natural foods supermarkets around the United States.
Who is the Founder of Veggie Mama?
Veggie Mama was founded and is owned by Theresa and Robert Frejo of Laguna Niguel, California. They have always struggled to feed their children healthily, so they developed inventive ways of preparing food to provide all the necessary vitamins.
Both Theresa and Robert have contributed all their savings to Veggie Mama, selling Theresa’s wedding band diamond to fund the organization.
Veggie Mama Before Shark Tank
Robert Fraijo and Teresa Fraijo have two young children. They are heading to the shark tank from Laguna Niguel, California, hoping the sharks will bite on their healthier alternative to frozen desserts.
Most parents struggle to provide a balanced diet for their kids – their children dislike vegetables, as is the case with most parents.
Teresa discovered that if she incorporated vegetables into fruit smoothies, the children would eat them without noticing.
She continued experimenting with the smoothies and converted them into frozen pops before realizing that she could turn the concept into a business.
Her spouse agreed, and he took a leave of absence from law school to assist with the endeavor. The Fraios were so committed to the new venture that they sold practically everything they owned – Teresa even sold the diamond from her wedding ring – and borrowed the remainder from friends and relatives.
A Veggie Mama frozen treat is similar to a freezer pop. They are prepared instead with fruit and veggies as opposed to sugar water. The flavors include carrot berry, citrus cucumber, and sweet potato pie.
The frozen snacks from VeggieMama are 100% natural, organic, and gluten-free. VeggieMama uses only natural agave nectar as a sweetener.
VeggieMama pops are available at Sprouts Farmers Markets, Gelsons, and a limited number of Whole Foods Markets in the western United States.
Only Natural Foods General Store in New York sells these products on the east coast. There are two locations of Veggie Mama, one in Anaheim and one in Niagara Falls. Sharks will assist the Fraijos with distribution and production.
Shark Tank Pitch of Veggie Mama
Teresa and Robert walked onstage, introduced themselves, and began pitching their solutions for picky eaters – children and their spouses.
Teresa explained to the sharks that she had developed a way to incorporate nutrition into delicious frozen pops free from gluten, dairy, and preservatives.
Naturally sweetened with agave nectar, these pops were naturally sweet. They asked for $75,000 in exchange for a 15% stake in their business.
The Fraijos distributed the pops to the sharks, who all seemed surprised at how excellent they tasted. Carrot Berry, Citrus Cucumber, and Sweet Potato Pie were among the flavors available.
Kevin was curious about the expense of making the pops, given the high price of agave nectar, and Robert Herjavec wanted to know how much wholesalers pay for it.
Robert Fraijo said that each package of six pops cost $1.10 to produce and sold for $2.25 per package to wholesalers and distributors.
Kevin inquired about their sales figures, and Robert Fraijo stated that they had earned $30,000 in the last few weeks.
Teresa added, “We have distribution at Whole Foods and were recently picked up by Sprouts Farmers Markets – in all 160 of their sites.”
Robert Herjavec was intrigued by their histories and the process through which the product was created. Teresa stated that her spouse was a law student and that she worked as a stay-at-home mother.
Several other mothers were interested in knowing the secret she used to get her kids to eat healthier.
She informed the mothers that she offered her children homemade green smoothies, but many mothers felt too much work.
Teresa decided to make it simple and practical for women to serve their children healthful treats, and together with her husband, they established a plan to bring their pops to market.
Robert, her husband, was more interested in launching a business than in attending law school, and as a result, he dropped out, even though he continued to work outside the home.
Robert Herjavec inquired about the production process. How was the item manufactured? How much capacity did you have?
How much is more profit there to be made? Teresa informed him that they have additional manufacturing capacity now that they have rented a facility in southern California.
Mark was curious as to how much money they had invested thus far. Teresa informed him that they had invested $30,000 and borrowed $110,000 from relatives and friends. Thus, a total of $140,000.
Robert Herjavec was curious as to who was operating the machinery. They were, as the Fraijos stated. Kevin then addressed Robert Fraijo with a question.
“How much money are you now earning in your job?” Robert Fraijo informed him of the sum of $67,000.
Kevin inquired if he could purchase him as an employee for $67,000, to which Robert Fraijo responded, “Absolutely.”
Mark made an exclamation. He despised the frozen food industry and believed it would be prohibitively expensive to expand their product countrywide.
He didn’t believe the Fraijos were prepared to take on that challenge, and he certainly didn’t believe he was. He was no longer present.
Barbara was the next to speak. She explained to the couple that they are the polar opposite of the other food industry partners she collaborates with.
She had partners who made nearly the opposite of what she did, investing $140,000 in cash and making $30,000. She, too, was terrified by their numbers and dropped out.
Kevin was willing to strike a bargain. He would offer the Fraijos $75,000 in exchange for a 50-cent royalty on each item sold until he recoups his initial investment.
The royalties would then be reduced to 25 cents per unit. He stated that this is how he has organized prior food agreements and has been quite profitable.
“You want a half-share of whatever they make?” Robert Herjavec asked. Kevin indicated that the arrangement would be transitory — likely only a few months.
Robert, on the other hand, was prepared to make his offer. He stated no other product comparable to theirs, but that $75,000 would likely be insufficient to get it started.
He promised $75,000 in exchange for 25% equity and then committed to pay an additional $75,000, provided Robert Fraijo agreed to work full-time for the business for the next 6-12 months. Thus, he was offering $150,000 for a 25% stake.
However, Lori desired admission as well. She genuinely believed in the invention and would pay $75,000 for a 20% stake – and she would contribute further funding if necessary after the business was up and operating.
She could help them get their product into the best stores through her connections.
What followed ignited a bidding war between the sharks. Kevin returned and stated that he wants to adjust his offer to retain Robert Fraijo full-time.
He would match Robert Herjavec’s $150,000 offer but would not seek any equity in the business. All he required was a royalty of 50 cents per unit until he recouped his $150,000, at which point the fee would be reduced to 25 cents per unit.
However, Lori was negotiating a side deal with Robert Herjavec during Kevin’s conversation.
Lori stated that she desired the same in light of Kevin’s desire to spice things up. Lori and Robert Herjavec would team up and offer the Fraijos an initial $75,000, followed by another $75,000 when Robert Fraijo was ready to return full-time.
They would earn 20% equity and a royalty of 20 cents per unit due to the Fraijos benefiting from two sharks rather than one. Kevin instantly retorted, “Now you must give up royalties and stock.”
That is when Mark entered the fray. He told the Fraijos they were fools for not accepting an earlier contract that did not include royalties.
Barbara, too, had a few words to say. She informed the Fraijos that they had received two offers and were now in a strong bargaining position. They should pause for a moment to consider it and then return.
Following the Fraijos’ exit from the platform to speak, the other sharks were livid that Barbara interjected herself. However, she felt as though they were taking advantage of the relationship by bringing up royalties.
When the Fraijos returned, they stated they were opposed to the concept of the twenty-cent royalty. Their counter was $75,000 now, $75,000 when Robert returned, and 20% equity. There are no royalties.
However, Robert Herjavec insisted on including the royalty in the contract because the Fraijos would gain from working with two sharks.
Barbara rushed in and stated, “The 20-cent royalty is 10% of anything they sell coming ahead.”
Robert Herjavec appeared to be irritated with Barbara. He inquired about whether she would return, and Barbara stated that she might, as she was becoming increasingly irritated.
Robert Herjavec then advised the Fraijos not to heed counsel from someone who is not making an offer, but Barbara attempted to get Mark to join with her and close the deal as he was speaking.
Mark stated that he was not interested in performing the task, but Barbara stated that she would. Mark accepted and made the Fraijos a $75,000 offer in exchange for 20% equity. There are no royalties. The Fraijos consented, and the transaction was completed.
Final Agreement: $75,000 for 20% equity in Veggie Mama.
What happened to Veggie Mama After Shark Tank?
The Fraijos made their Shark Tank debut in 2005. Since that time, the company has seen significant changes.
Veggie Mama Garden Pops have been discontinued, the company’s logo has been changed, and the product lineup has been completely revamped.
The company sells vitamins and cleansing products that adhere to the “same health goals and values that we argued for when we established Veggie Mama.”
Their supplement is powdered and derived from plants. You can add a scoop to your smoothie or use it in one of the recipes on their website.
Garden Power, a powdered supplement available in two flavors, is marketed as offering three benefits: energy, digestion, and immunity.
The company says that its product can aid in weight loss, detoxification, and mental and physical transformation. The website is devoid of testimonials.
Veggie Mama also offers cleanses lasting three, ten, or twenty-one days. Those who miss the original Garden Pops can also find a recipe on their site to make them home.
The market for nutritional supplements is quite competitive. While it is commendable that the Fraijos are still in business, they are doing little to market the brand.
Their Instagram account has a pretty small following – approximately 2,200 followers – and their most recent post was in July 2018.
The business has even fewer Twitter followers and no Facebook presence. It’s difficult to see how they can sustain their business in light of the nutritional supplement industry’s severe rivalry. It’s apparent they no longer have the support of the sharks involved in the deal.