Shark Tank Gave a Boost to This Meal Prep Company
Singletons, healthy eaters, and busy parents will love Souper Cubes
For 14 seasons, Shark Tank and its “Shark” investors have been helping entrepreneurs take their businesses to new heights. The show is entertaining, but it also shares some good lessons in budgeting, marketing, and running a business. Of course, Shark Tank has had its fair share of food-related entrepreneurs present to Sharks from pizza cupcakes to mushroom jerky.
One presentation, however, caught the eye of Shark Lori Greiner.
In February 2021 (season 12, episode 14), Jake and Michelle Sendowski, founders of Souper Cubes, presented their product to the Shark Tank Sharks. Souper Cubes are silicone storage trays that resemble giant ice cube trays. The trays, designed in multiple sizes, allow you to freeze meal prep items. The beauty lies in the fact that you can just pop out individual portions and reheat them, whereas if you stored soup or chili in a Tupperware bowl, you would have to reheat the entire contents.
The idea behind Souper Cubes came as a solution to that very problem, according to co-founder, Michelle Sendowski. She tells Broken Palate that the lightning bolt came when she and her husband, Jake were shopping at a grocery store. “We talked about Jake's love for soup and how making a pot at home always involved a lot of prep and resulted in so much soup, much more than two people could reasonably eat.”
The couple mused over the not-so-great options for freezing soup: glass jars could break, plastic bags were a mess, and containers were always taking up space in the freezer and never in the right quantity for an individual portion. Jake decided that there had to be a better way to freeze in portioned amounts.
After some trial and error, they started Souper Cubes in 2017 as a way to address the issue. After several years of success, they presented their cubes to the Sharks on Shark Tank.
Lori Grenier loved the idea so much, she gave the Sendowskis her golden ticket, which she reserves for only one deal per year.
About two years later, Michelle Sendowski tells Broken Palate that being on Shark Tank was an “amazing” experience. “It was a lot more work than we thought to go through the application and audition process but we're so happy we did. We never expected to receive not only multiple offers from the Sharks but Lori's golden ticket for season 12. She's always been our favorite Shark and it's a dream having her join our team.”
For those who have doubt about whether or not a Shark actually is involved with a company once a deal is made, Sendowski says that two years after Shark Tank, Grenier is still very much a hands-on investor. “Lori and her team are incredibly available to us. We are grateful that we can go to her for both high-level strategies but also details about product packaging. She's the best.”
Exposure on Shark Tank has also boosted revenue for the company, according to Sendowski. “Sales have continued to increase since we first pitched on Shark Tank. We're so grateful for our customers who have come to trust us to be their go-to source for freezer meal prep containers.”
Souper Cubes sent me some cubes to try out. Being a one-person household (not counting my dogs), I constantly struggle with making food for myself and having multiple Tupperware crowding my freezer after my weekend chili-making binge. This time I spooned the chili into the one-cup Souper Cubes and popped them into my freezer. A few days later when I had no food in my fridge, I popped out two of the cubes directly into a saucepan and ten minutes later, I had dinner. I’ve even used these cubes for even rice and chicken for the dogs. Recently I’ve been on a low-sodium diet and meal prepping items like soups and sauces is a breeze: I'll buy the ingredients at the farmers market on Sunday, make some soup or chili or vegetable stew, and freeze it. Then, I can heat up a cube or two while I make some farro or quinoa to serve it over.
I asked Michelle Sendowski for a few tips on how to use Souper Cubes. Here’s what she said.
If you're new to freezer meal prep, start with your favorite recipe, double it, and freeze the second half. There's no point in batch prepping a dish you don't want to eat.
Once you've frozen a dish you love that freezes well, let the frozen tray and lid sit on the counter for 4-5 minutes so that it warms up and expands, making it easier to take the lid off and pop out the cubes.
Once you've reheated your frozen food, try to add something fresh to liven it up, whether it's with a freshly made side (like a salad), or adding a garnish.
If you're freezing a pasta sauce, we recommend making the pasta fresh. It can make your meal a lot more fun to eat.
And, don't forget to label your lids. Frozen food can look similar.
Purchase Souper Cubes directly through its website or on Amazon.com. I recommend starting with the one-cup size for individual portions, or the two-cup size for double portions. The smaller sizes are great for homemade ice creams, treats, and baby food.
I'm a little confused. You mention popping out a cube or two to reheat on the stovetop, and the company website says that you thaw the whole tray. What is the purpose of letting the tray thaw for four-five minutes on the counter if you are only using one portion?
With an abundance of Basil last summer, we made pesto and frozen it in artisanal size cubes. They have been a resource all winter. In response to the above remark, offering recipe suggestions for customers would be a great way to develop a customer base.