Jicafoods was founded in 2015 by Melissa Colella-Wang and Xin Wang, a husband & wife team who say snacking had become their nemesis. They started experimenting with making their own vegetable based snacks, and were introduced to jícama while vacationing in Mexico.
Jicama (pronounced HEE-kah-mah) is a round, tuberous root vegetable that is native to Central and South America. It has a thin, brown skin and a white, crunchy flesh that has a slightly sweet, slightly starchy flavor. Jicama is a good source of fiber and contains a range of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, potassium, and iron. It is often used in traditional dishes in Central and South America, and it has become popular in other parts of the world as a low-calorie, low-fat alternative to starchy vegetables such as potatoes. Jicama is also sometimes used as a natural sweetener in recipes, as it has a slightly sweet flavor.
JicaWraps are super thinly sliced sheets of jicama baked with a light coating of olive oil. They are an excellent alternative to flour tortilla wraps. JicaWraps are keto, paleo, gluten-free, non-gmo, and only 15 calories and 3 grams of carbs per serving (2 wraps). They are perfect for tacos and lettuce wraps, or anything else you might use a tortilla for.
Jicasticks are french fry shaped cuts of fresh jicama. You can eat them right out of the package as snacks, dip them in hummus or guacamole, or fry them. Jicsticks are just 45 calories per serving, and pack 6g prebiotic fiber with zero added sugar. Available in Plain, Chili Lime and Colaintro flavors.
You can find Jicafoods products on their website and in Walmart and Sprouts stores.
JicaFoods in the Shark Tank
Xin Wang and Melissa Colella-Wang pitched JicaFoods on Shark Tank Season 14. They sought $300,000 for 3% equity in their jica-based foods company, giving it a valuation of $10 million. The entrepreneurs shared their journey of starting with a salty snack potato chip in 2015 and then transitioning to Jica Wraps for tacos. They highlighted their financial growth, with sales exceeding $1 million in 2019, rising to over $4 million in 2020, and reaching $5 million in 2021. JicaFoods products were available in Whole Foods and Sprouts Farmers’ Market, with a cost of $1.85 to produce each unit and retailing at about $3.
During the negotiations, Barbara Corcoran offered $300,000 for 10% equity, and Kevin O’Leary made an offer of $300,000 for 9%. However, Xin and Melissa ultimately accepted Barbara Corcoran’s deal of $300,000 for 6% equity and 3% advisory shares, resulting in a final valuation of $3,333,333.
|Entrepreneurs||Xin Wang and Melissa Colella-Wang|
|Ask||$300,000 for 3% equity|
|Pitch Valuation||$10 million|
|Result||$300,000 for 6% equity + 3% advisory shares|
JicaFoods Update After Shark Tank
After their appearance on Shark Tank, JicaFoods experienced significant growth and development. The company expanded its product range, which now includes Jicama sticks and salsas with various flavors, from pineapple to hot. Their products are available in the fresh produce section of grocery stores. JicaFoods’ annual turnover is approximately $1 million, with a net worth estimated at $5 million. The company saw a consistent increase in sales, reaching $1 million in 2019, $4 million in 2020, $5 million in 2021, and $6 million in 2022, although their profit in 2022 was $400,000, slightly less than the previous year due to significant investments in self-manufacturing. This investment is expected to substantially increase their profits in the future.
As of January 2023, JicaFoods products were available in about 700 stores, including retail giants like Walmart, Sprouts, Whole Foods, Wegman’s, and more. The company does not sell directly to consumers; customers need to visit a partner store to purchase their products. Melissa Colella-Wang projected sales to reach $9 million by 2023. This growth is partly attributed to their participation in a food-based startup accelerator, AccelFoods, and their presence in food-related trade shows, which helped increase their visibility and market reach.