Where Is Just The Cheese From Shark Tank Today?

Do you "brie-lieve" that entrepreneurial and business dreams can come true? Wisconsin-based business owner David Scharfman certainly did when he donned a bright orange suit, a cheese hat, and an equally cheesy tie in Season 11 of ABC's hit series "Shark Tank." Of course, pitching in the "Shark Tank” arena (always a magnet for food products) can often be an intimidating process, but doing so in such a getup probably intensified those feelings rather dramatically.

Scharfman, you might recall, is the founder of Just the Cheese, a line of crunchy, keto-friendly snacks made with just one ingredient — wholesome Wisconsin cheddar cheese, baked to golden, crispy goodness. Scharfman explained to the Sharks that the best part of a grilled cheese sandwich is the cheese that oozes from the bread and clings to the pan when you're making one — and that's what he set out to create in munchie form.

So, what did the Sharks of "Shark Tank" think of this potentially tasty new treat?

Just the Cheese to Sharks: No deal

Thousands of entrepreneurs who dream of taking their businesses to another level go through the "Shark Tank” application process, hoping they'll be selected for the show. David Scharfman made the cut and came on board with an ask of $500,000 in exchange for a 5% share of his business (via YouTube). 

The Sharks (with the exception of Robert Herjavec) gave a round of thumbs up to the product itself, and three proposed offers of their own. Kevin O'Leary, aka "Mr. Wonderful,” suggested $500,000 in exchange for a 20-cents royalty per package. Herjavec and Daniel Lubetzky dropped out, while at the same time complimenting Scharfman on his sales figures. Lori Greiner and Mark Cuban stepped out citing marketplace and risk concerns, but they briefly circled back when Scharfman changed his terms to $500,000 for a 5-cent royalty for 10 years. After much back and forth with Greiner, Cuban, and O'Leary, Scharfman opted to decline all offers.

You "gouda" take the good with the bad, and Just the Cheese seems to have found success minus a Shark. You can find the product line in 2,500 supermarkets and big-box stores nationwide (per Just the Cheese), including Albertsons, Wegmans, Walmart, and Target, as well as via the company website and Amazon, where they are a top-rated snack (per PopSugar). The line-up has also expanded from its original aged cheddar, toasted cheese, and cheddar jalapeno bars to include crispy Just the Cheese minis.

Just the Cheese found a new owner in 2022

When David Scharfman stepped into the "Shark Tank,” he was pleased to share that his family-owned snack company had racked up $3.5 million in sales during its first year and had another $3.7 million in sales in 2019 — with four months left on the calendar (per CNBC). The Just the Cheese owner couldn't strike a deal with the Sharks, but it didn't take long for him to find success anyway. 

In late 2022, Scharfman's cheesy snack brand was purchased by John B. Sanfilippo & Son Inc., a company with a long history of producing nuts and snacks. The company's portfolio includes brands like Fisher Nuts and Orchard Valley Harvest. "The acquisition of Just the Cheese, which currently will not have a significant impact on our financial results, will provide us a product that expands our portfolio into new snacking categories,” San Filippo & Son CEO Jeffery T. Sanfilippo told Dairy Foods.

Consumers, especially those on the hunt for convenient, low-carb snacks, have embraced Just the Cheese. In fact, David Zinczenko, the founder of "Eat This, Not That," rated Just the Cheese baked snacks as one of his top finds at the annual Sweets & Snacks Expo Show. In fact, he wrote in Today, "You can't beat these baked cheese bars for an authentic cheesy taste that you can take on the go.” YouTube product reviewers Two Krazy Ketos give the grilled cheese bars high marks, too: "This is the best cheese snack I've ever purchased on keto,” says one of the pair. 

Notably, Scharfman wasn't the first or the last entrepreneur to enter "Shark Tank" with a cheese-based product. In fact, some readers may remember Heidi Ho products in Season 6.