Burlap & Barrel Review from Shark Tank: A Spice Company’s Success Story

seriosity featured image

Burlap & Barrel emerged on the Shark Tank stage with a proposition that captured the attention of viewers and the Sharks alike. Founders Ethan Frisch and Ori Zohar presented their business with an emphasis on ‘direct trade,’ a model designed to support farmers and bring unique spices to consumers. Their appearance on Shark Tank highlighted both the potential impact of their business model and the quality of their products, making for an engaging segment that leaned heavily on the ethics and transparency of their international spice supply chain.

The company’s pitch revolved around their extensive roster of over 75 different spices and a direct-to-consumer sales model that accounts for the majority of their revenue. Their focus on single-origin spices presented an opportunity for an in-depth look at how flavor profiles and customer experience intersect with socially conscious business practices. By showcasing a Public Benefit Corporation dedicated to creating a more equitable and transparent food system, Burlap & Barrel stood out as a company looking to make a difference not only in kitchens but also in lives around the world.

Key Takeaways

  • Burlap & Barrel emphasizes ethical sourcing and transparency in their spice business.
  • The company’s diverse range of spices showcases the importance of single-origin flavor profiles.
  • Burlap & Barrel’s approach has the potential to positively impact consumer experience and farmer livelihoods.

The Origin Story of Burlap & Barrel


Burlap & Barrel is more than just a spice company; it’s the brainchild of two passionate entrepreneurs with a vision to revolutionize the spice industry. By forging a direct link between farmers and consumers, they have created a more equitable and flavorful spice supply chain.

Founders’ Background

Ethan Frisch and Ori Zohar are the innovative minds behind Burlap & Barrel. Frisch, a chef and activist, co-founded Guerrilla Ice Cream before venturing into the world of spices. His experience in the culinary field, combined with a passion for social justice, led him back to his roots in sourcing and using high-quality ingredients. Ori Zohar came from a business background, and together, their unique blend of skills and experiences formed the perfect recipe for Burlap & Barrel. Based in New York City, they started with a mission to bridge the gap between small-scale spice farmers and consumers.

Shark Tank Appearance

The duo made a memorable appearance on Shark Tank, where they pitched their business model that emphasizes single-origin spices and transparent supply chains. The brand stood out for its commitment to quality and sustainability, capturing the interest of the Sharks with their vision. Burlap & Barrel’s feature on the show not only increased their visibility but also highlighted their effort to make a positive impact on the global food industry, aligning perfectly with the current demand for ethical consumerism.

Burlap & Barrel’s Business Model


Burlap & Barrel has cultivated a distinct niche in the spice industry, focusing on ethical sourcing and direct partnerships with smallholder farmers. Their approach emphasizes fair trade and traceability in their supply chains.

Direct and Transparent Sourcing

Burlap & Barrel excels in establishing a direct and transparent line from single-origin spices to consumers. They bypass traditional supply chains, alleviating layers that typically obscure the product’s origin and quality. This model ensures both an ethical sourcing strategy and traceable supply chains, allowing consumers to know precisely where their spices are coming from.

Public Benefit Corporation Values

As a Public Benefit Corporation, Burlap & Barrel operates with a mandate that extends beyond profit. Their values promote equal and fair treatment for everyone involved in the business process. By integrating public benefit into their core business model, they maintain their commitment to positively impacting both people and the planet.

Support for Smallholder Farmers

Burlap & Barrel partners directly with smallholder farmers around the globe. They offer support and establish equal partnerships, empowering these farmers with fair prices and recognition for their work. This direct support not only improves the livelihood of partner farmers but also contributes to a more ethical market for single-origin spices.

Products and Flavor Profiles


Burlap & Barrel has captivated discerning palates with a diverse range of spices that bring a burst of authenticity and purity to any dish.

Unique Spices Offered

Burlap & Barrel’s collection boasts exceptional spices, including Royal Cinnamon, Wild Mountain Cumin, and Black Pepper — each offering a distinctive taste profile. Royal Cinnamon is known for its sweet and complex flavor, making it a step above the common cinnamon found in most kitchens. Wild Mountain Cumin has an earthy richness, perfect for adding depth to savory dishes. Black Lime provides a tangy and slightly fermented taste, an excellent addition to Middle Eastern recipes.

Other notable unique spices in their lineup include Wild Icelandic Kelp, which adds a subtle oceanic flavor to dishes, making it a great salt substitute for a mineral-rich seasoning.

Unique Spice Flavor Profile Cuisine Pairing
Royal Cinnamon Sweet, complex, with a hint of heat Perfect for baked goods and spice mixes
Wild Mountain Cumin Earthy, rich, and aromatic Ideal for stews, curries, and meat rubs
Black Pepper Sharp, mildly spicy, and versatile A staple for virtually every cuisine
Black Lime Tangy, sun-dried, with a touch of fermentation Enhances Middle Eastern stews and grains
Wild Icelandic Kelp Briny, mineral-rich, umami-packed Adds depth to soups and broths

Importance of High-Quality Ingredients

Achieving the desired Flavor in cooking greatly depends on the use of High-Quality Spices. Burlap & Barrel sources Single-Origin Spices directly from small farmers, ensuring that each spice’s unique flavor and character are preserved. This practice not only enhances the taste of food but also supports ethical practices and sustainability in the spice trade.

High-Quality Spices like Burlap & Barrel’s Black Pepper exhibit pronounced pungency and aroma compared to mass-produced varieties, making a significant difference in culinary applications. These carefully selected ingredients are essential for professional chefs and home cooks alike who seek to elevate their dishes with authentic and robust flavors.

Customer Experience and Impact

The success of Burlap and Barrel hinges on the enthusiasm of customers who share their experiences and the company’s far-reaching impact on food systems and sustainability. These two facets of the company illuminate its efforts toward reshaping the spice industry and the overall global food system.

User Reviews and Feedback

Customers often discuss their satisfaction with Burlap and Barrel through numerous online reviews. They typically highlight the intense flavors and quality of the spices they receive. The variety of choices allows food enthusiasts to explore unique tastes from different regions. It’s not uncommon to come across feedback where someone has transformed a simple meal with a dash of Burlap and Barrel’s exotic spices, signifying a positive customer experience. The order process on the site is often described as user-friendly, leading to an increase in sales and a growing customer base.

  • Ease of Navigation: The Burlap and Barrel website has been praised for its ease of use, making the ordering process straightforward.
  • Product Satisfaction: Specific flavors and spice blends have received high marks for their freshness and ability to elevate dishes.

Contribution to Food Systems and Sustainability

Burlap and Barrel’s commitment to sustainability and improving food systems is reflected in their ethical approach to sourcing spices. They partner directly with smallholder farmers, thereby contributing to a more equitable global food system. This business model emphasizes value for both producers and consumers, ensuring fair compensation for farmers while delivering high-caliber products.

  • Direct Relationships: Creating direct supply chains that benefit local farmers and the environment.
  • Eco-conscious Packaging: Efforts to use packaging that minimizes impact on the ecosystem.

Their contribution is seen as a significant step in reforming how food reaches our tables, focusing on conscientious consumption and the well-being of all stakeholders — from farmer to consumer.