Phillip Gaudon's pitch for Tanka Bars wins Pitch Slam grand prize
Phillip Gaudon, director of sales for Native American Natural Foods, receives a symbolic check for $35,000. In reality, the Natural Products Expo West Pitch Slam grand prize is a free booth at Expo West 2023 and other services from New Hope that equal that total.
Gaudon said that winning the grand prize would allow his company, which makes buffalo-based Tanka Bars, to better support the buffalo suppliers because it wouldn't have to pay for a booth next year.
Tanka bars are made from a traditional Lakota recipes using prairie-fed buffalo and cranberries.
"What is Tanka? In Lakota, it means larger than life. Huge, mammoth, powerful. Everything of buffalo encompasses. Naturally, we believe and living life powerfully as a result," Gaudon said at the beginning of his presentation. Native American Natural Foods plans to expand to include other tribes whose diet might depend on proteins other than buffalo, he said.
Thereasa Black, founder of Bon AppeSweet, receives Rising Star award
Thereasa Black opened her pitch with a shocking declaration: "The unthinkable has happened. Chocolate lovers all over the world have cut back and even given up chocolate." The reasons? Sugar, sugar alcohol, dairy, unhealthy ingredieents, slavery and GMOs.
"Have no fear!" she continued. "Bon AppeSweet is here!"
Black founded Bon AppeSweet chocolates—a no-sugar, no-dairy, non-GMO brand—to fulfill a promise to her daughter: That she would never again go on deployment. Black, who was deployed for 13 months beginning when her daughter was 2 years old, includes this promise on the labels of her chocolate bars.
The Navy veteran choked up a bit when Pitch Slam judge asked what the favorite part of her day is picking up her daughter from school.
"She used to say, 'Mommy, you came back.'
"She doesn't say that now; she just comes over and gives me a huge hug. That makes my heart float every single day."
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