Mollie Cha and Hannah Hong are two best friends who met during their undergraduate program at Berkeley. Their parents immigrated to the USA from Korea and have been best friends for 15 years.
They took inspiration from their parents, who started their own businesses to fulfill their American dreams.
After the two girls got their MBA, they launched the Must Love products in 2017.
What Do They Make?
Must Love is a plant-based treat for those who want to indulge in healthy snacks. They use dairy-free and natural ingredients that are good for your health.
They come in assorted flavors that are widely popular as guilty pleasures, like Peanut Butter Swirl or Cashew Cookie.
Must Love also introduces novelty bars like Dipped Crunchy Peanut Swirl or Dipped Vanilla, which tastes like frozen chocolate bananas.
They have also introduced their non-GMO plant-based food sprinkles that provide vibrant colors to their ice creams.
What Makes Them Unique?
Must Love eradicates the use of cheap ingredients like artificial preservatives and canola oil, monoglycerides and diglycerides, etc. Must Love curates plant-based and whole foods ice cream snacks that are dairy free, delicious, and enriched with simple and healthy ingredients.
The ice creams have a simple base of bananas or oats, and then they are sweetened with real fruits and ingredients that give a signature flavor to their ice-creams.
Are They Still an Active Company?
Must Love markets its products through Facebook and Instagram, and its website is running successfully to advertise all of its different products.
How Did the Shark Tank Pitch Go?
Hannah and Mollie came to Shark Tank seeking $600K for 7.5% equity in their business.
They explained how the commonly used ingredients in ice creams were marketed as good for health, but in reality, they were made from petroleum, beetles, or wood pulp.
Must Love ice creams were curated will all plant-based and natural ingredients with characteristic flavors that let you indulge in these sweet treats without worrying about your health.
They asked the Sharks to taste their ice cream flavors. From their banana line, they brought their signature dipped vanilla bars and the cashew cookie pie. The chocolate used in their ice-creams was vegan and used no dairy.
Peter and Kevin appreciated their scrumptious flavors despite being vegan products.
In 2017, when they first launched their products, they made $35,000 in sales and have been growing ever since. Their sales from year to date were $1 million, and they were hoping to end the year with $1.7 million sales in revenue.
Peter inquired about their profit margins, and Mollie responded that they were running at a $400,000 loss. The reason for their loss was that they were struggling to get a hold of the food industry, which was very competitive and cash intensive. They had to spend several bucks on marketing and shelf space.
Their products had to be displayed in the frozen foods section, and that was even harder to get a place in. The girls fought tooth and nail to market their products and get a position in grocery stores and other places.
The dairy-free aspect was the sweet spot for selling their products, and they were available nationally at Sprouts Farmer’s market. The products were also displayed in certain regions of Whole Foods. They had also recently launched their products at Costco.
Mollie and Hannah invested $200,000 of their money in the company and raised $1.4 million in the last five years. They were also in the middle of a seed round and raising an $8 million valuation. That is why they needed investment from one of the Sharks.
Mark asked them if they were willing to negotiate, and Mollie agreed that they had discussed the matter with other investors as well who were participating in the seed round.
Daymond wasn’t impressed that they were offering the Sharks the same valuation as “the streets.” It was disrespectful knowing the value that one of the Sharks can bring to their company. He went out.
Kevin thought that they were not worth $8 million valuation and the $600K that they were asking from the Sharks. He went out as well.
Peter had already invested in a similar business on Dragon’s den, and the company’s sales were going up until the profit margins were reduced. He said that when that company started getting into Costco or Whole Foods, the brand started going down, which caused them to invest even more money into marketing and other strategies. The net margin was so less that the manufacturer started earning more money than the company. For that reason, his experience wouldn’t allow him to make an investment. He went out.
Mark thought that the products tasted good, but they were not differentiated enough from similar products in the market. Just using the terms of natural and clean ingredients won’t compete with the bigger names in this department. There was not a single, prominent trigger that could convince people to buy their product, and for that reason, he was going out.
Mollie and Hannah now focused on Lori, who discussed how she created a new product, Frobert, in collaboration with Frozen Farmers. All the other Sharks told Lori at that time that her product would not work, but they worked hard and were going to make $20 million in sales that year.
Lori thought that Must Love was a tough competition for her product with Frozen Farmers and that it wouldn’t be fair to that company if she also invested in Must Love. After saying this, she went out as well.
Pros of Must Love
- The banana base of ice cream is not a very strong flavor that could get overwhelming.
- There are other base flavors available, like oat milk, if a person doesn’t prefer the banana flavor.
- It’s a tasty alternative to other vegan-based ice creams that taste bland and ordinary.
Cons of Must Love
- The ice cream pints cost a lot more than what the product is worth
- The shipping costs are additional expenses when buying the ice cream.
Who Is Must Love For?
Perfect for people who are conscious about the good and natural ingredients that are a part of their food, from breakfast to dinner, and even other delicacies like ice cream.
Are There Any Alternatives?
- 365 by Whole Foods Market
- Ben & Jerry’s.
Our Final Thoughts:
Ice creams are a delicacy that people like to indulge in not so often than other food products. The additional fact that Must Love is a frozen food item made it difficult to convince the Sharks that it would be easy to get shelf space in supermarkets around the USA.