Best of Shark Tank

Bee Free Honee Update

SEASON 7 EPISODE 17

PITCH

100% plant-based, sustainably produced honey alternative

ENTREPRENEUR

Melissa Elms and Katie Sanchez

ASKED FOR

$100,000 for 10%

GOT

$210,000 for 30%

SHARK

Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Chris Sacca

STATUS

OUT OF BUSINESS

The TV show Shark Tanks sees numerous creative and innovative products on their stage each year. Some of these ideas don’t walk away with investors, while others create so much excitement that people are talking about them years later. Here’s the story of one such company: Bee Free Honee, the founder’s story, and how this honey alternative came about.

Founder’s Story

Katie Sanchez comes from a culinary arts background, but her methods don’t always fit a formula. She learned how to build a business from scratch by checking books out from her local library. Her father’s retired beekeeping friends were the first people excited about her idea of Bee Free Honee.

Bee Free Honee, like a lot of inventions in history, came about completely by accident. One day, Katie was trying to make her own apple jelly, but she was pressed for time. Due to this time crunch, she didn’t stop to read the directions. The attempted jelly didn’t turn out the way she wanted, so she canned it and left it overnight. When she came back to it in the morning, she found it turned into a honey-like substance.

Katie’s primary motivation for creating Bee Free Honee, with the help of her business partner, is to help the bees. Bees are fed sugar water and corn syrup in place of honey, and large produce growers have bees trucked all over the country. This exposes bees to a variety of pesticides, parasites, and climates that aren’t their own.

Established in 2012, Bee Free Honee’s sales quadrupleed after they appeared on Shark Tank in early 2016. Afterward, the company moved its production from Wisconsin to Texas. They had flavored variations such as mint, slippery elm, and ancho chile and founed in Whole Foods, HE, and Sprouts Farmers Market.

​Unfortunately, Bee Free Honee shut down operations in the summer of 2019. However, with Katie Sanchez as an example of what we can do to better our pollinators’ lives, there will be those inspired by her actions who will carry the torch and lead the way.

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