BOULDER — In its 40-year history, Boulder-headquartered RollinGreens LLC transformed from a family-owned food truck to a company that produces freezer-aisle snacks.
Recent television appearances on ABC’s Shark Tank brought awareness to the health food brand and strengthened its sales.
The Cunningham family founded RollinGreens in 1980 as an organic-cuisine food truck. The truck drove around the city and sold products for three years before parking for 28 years.
Fast forward to 2011, and the youngest son Ryan and his wife Lindsey Cunningham picked up where RollinGreens left off in the ‘80s. The couple hit the roads of Boulder and Denver with their plant-based bites and catered events. Today, they are known as the co-founders of the revamped RollinGreens.
But Lindsey and Ryan, who both grew up in the city, wanted to share their food with a larger customer base. In 2016, the truck officially retired. The company liquidated its assets and poured them into a favorite product, the Millet Tot. The product looks and tastes like a classic tater tot, but millet grain substitutes for potatoes.
“What we want to do is take this delicious food truck, you know, comfort food with a healthy twist, and give you that same feeling like you’re eating out of our food truck but out of the freezer nationwide,” Lindsey said. The company has since adopted the catchphrase, “Born in Boulder. Delicious everywhere.”
The Millet Tot line is gluten-free, USDA certified organic and vegan and comes in three flavors: onion and sea salt, basil and garlic, and sweet potato and poblano chili. CleanDirt Farm in Sterling harvests 100% of the millet grains and manufacturing occurs in Denver.
Today, RollinGreens is in 2,500 stores in 36 states, Lindsey said. Grocers include Whole Foods, Kroger, King Soopers, Alfalfa’s and Natural Grocers. She added that RollinGreens plans to expand onto Walmart shelves with 500 locations in September. An ecommerce store launched earlier this year.
Last year, RollinGreens added a new packaged product, cauliflower wings, a vegan alternative to the chicken-based entree. Both the Millet Tots and cauliflower wing recipes were developed by Ryan, who cooks under the name Chef Ko’s.
The company has six employees, mostly in marketing and operations. Third parties are used for co-packing and distribution. Lindsey said that she’s proud to see the staff grow from one employee last year.
Lindsey and Ryan presented their products to investors on the ABC show Shark Tank in the finale of season 11, which aired on May 15. They asked the “sharks” for $500,000 for 10% equity in the company. Multimillionaire Robert Herjavec agreed to the investment for 20% equity.
In addition to Shark Tank, RollinGreens products have been on three QVC segments, selling out with each showing.
Lindsey said that sales from the last three weeks, following Shark Tank, tripled what RollinGreens made in all of 2019. RollinGreens website increased its traffic by 40,000% — yes, 40,000% — compared to this time last year, she said.
“It’s kind of a weird number to even comprehend because it’s so massive,” Lindsey said. “But it is what it is, and it’s amazing: the Shark Tank effect.”