Vegan company Bee Free Honee will appear on Friday night’s episode of Shark Tank—an ABC reality show in which companies present its products to investors in hopes of gaining capital funding. Founder Katie Sanchez and her colleague Melissa Elms are scheduled to present their apple-based vegan honey to the panel of celebrity investors. The business is seeking funding to meet demand for its honey alternative, which Sanchez believes helps to “take production demands off bees.” According to Sanchez, bees are some of the most abused animals but are not seen as such because they “do what they do naturally, but in an unnatural environment.” While honey used to be a local and seasonal product, Sanchez reveals that year-round demand—in items such as Honey Nut Cheerios—has become a major stressor on bee populations. Bees are exploited for their pollinating abilities, transported to areas where they are able to consume only mono-nutrients from single crops, are exposed to pesticides, and no longer hibernate. “Everything about the life cycle of a bee is unnatural now,” Sanchez says. Should the company receive funding on the show, the duo plans to increase production of their honey alternative and expand to new markets in order to alleviate the strain on honey bees—complex insects whose survival is crucial to global ecosystems. Several vegan companies—such as bakery Cinnaholic and cheese company Heidi Ho—have successfully gained funding on previous episodes of Shark Tank.
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