Basking Ridge, NJ inventor hits it big on ‘Shark Tank’
A Basking Ridge inventor and her business partner were big winners on the reality show “Shark Tank”, getting two of the sharks to invest in their business.
The Banana Loca, a kitchen gadget for coring and filling bananas invented by Renee Heath and Bechara Jaoudeh, caught the attention of sharks Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary pledged $250,000 to the business.
The Banana Loca is designed to core the banana (although it can be used on other things like cucumbers) and fill it with the user’s choice of things like Nutella, chocolate syrup, jam, peanut butter, or anything else you can think of.
Their episode aired in December; Heath told New Jersey Monthly that it was an intense process “We filmed in July, and before we went on we did practice runs with producers to make sure we felt comfortable in front of the sharks. The filming was really intense. You hit your mark and go, and there’s no cutting or restarting.”
Cuban and O’Leary both tried the product and were impressed enough to buy 25% of the business; Heath says that after that, the requests for wholesale deliveries started pouring in. She hopes one day to have a retail version (the current model is for home use), so that ice cream parlors, smoothie shops, and/or pretzel shops can sell filling infused bananas.
The Banana Loca retails for $28.99 and is available on their own website or on Amazon.
The description of the device on their website: Banana Loca® is an innovative kitchen gadget that straightens a banana, cores it while still in the peel, and allows you to fill it with a variety of tasty food pairings like yogurt, honey, jams & jellies, peanut butter and Nutella!
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle only.
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