Sunday, December 4, 2016

Tastefully Simple is downsizing – still a good opportunity?

Between Pinterest bake-offs and Top Chef marathons, Instagram foodies and poor man’s Martha Steward bloggers, there’s a lot of interest in learning how to make delicious, gourmet meals at home.

Tastefully Simple makes it, well, simple with their gourmet meals and easy recipes.

The company’s mission is to “provide exceptional tasting experiences and lifestyle solutions through simple, delicious food and enriching business opportunities.”

Does this mean I’m involved?

This video explains everything:

Make sense? Either way, here’s the full review on Tastefully Simple.


They were founded in Minnesota in 1995, so they’ve got under two decades of sales under their belt.

Jill Blashack, Tastefully Simple Founder and CEO, is a powerful motivational speaker and top entrepreneur with decades of experience in businesses small and massive.

She started out owning her own Minnesota café called “Jill’s Grill” as her first entrepreneurial endeavor. Then, she started her own retail gift basket company. Finally, she started Tastefully Simple as “a dream on a shoestring” in a 1,200 square foot shed. [1]

Now, the company is hitting $50-100 million in global sales revenue each year. [2]

And Jill is blazing the way to being the top female entrepreneur in all of America.

She’s been reeling in award after award after being named Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young in 2000 and again in 2003.

By 2007 she was named Inc. Entrepreneur of the Year for Minnesota.

She even made it into the Hall of Fame for Minnesota for the National Association of Women Business Owners. In 2012 and again in 2014, Direct Selling News declared her the most influential woman in direct sales. [3]

However, just recently they announced that they had to downsize their operations, cutting 39 jobs at their headquarters in Alexandria, Minnesota. 140 people will remain employed. [4]

While it’s not necessarily GOOD news, for a company as big as Tastefully Simple, this kind of streamlining isn’t necessarily that bad.

Unfortunately, interest in the company over the past 5 years isn’t looking too good either.

They have individual food items and meal packages in a variety of categories…

  • Beverages
  • Bread and muffins
  • Desserts
  • Dip mixes
  • Salsas
  • Salad dressings
  • Sauces and spreads
  • Seasonings
  • Snacks
  • Soups
  • Gluten free
  • Kosher
  • Diet foods

Their meal collections include…

  • 30 meals & more
  • 10 meals & more
  • Dinner mixers
  • Entertaining platters
  • Freezer meals

The meal collections come in packages of 10 meals or 30 meals and include recipes and some ingredients. They do not include things like fresh produce and meats, but they come with a shopping list to tell you exactly what else you need.

Their “Family Faves”, for example, includes the following ingredients for 10 meals:

  • Artichoke and spinach dip mix
  • Bacon pepper jam
  • Chicken tortilla soup mix
  • Chipotle pulled pork sauce
  • Garlic pepper seasoning
  • Honey Dijon vinaigrette
  • Multi-grain beer bread mix
  • Raspberry oatmeal bar mix
  • Simply salsa mix

Some of the recipes for this package are:

  1. Shredded beef tacos
  2. Ham & swiss quiche
  3. Chipotle pork sandwiches
  4. Bacon-glazed meatloaf
  5. Chicken tortilla bake
  6. Creamy artichoke chicken
  7. Sloppy joe sliders
  8. Southwest beef & bean soup
  9. Chicago style pizza
  10. Bacon & Dijon pork burgers

They sound delicious, and they must be. Tastefully Simple recipes are super popular.

They’re all over Pinterest with tons of pins.

Major recipe outlets such as have even made their own copy recipes of Tastefully Simple recipes, such as a Copycat version of their signature Beer Bread. [5]

The 10 meal collections are $69.95, which isn’t terrible…almost $7 a meal, and each meal has about 6 servings.

But when you think about the fact that you still have to buy all the substantial ingredients like produce and meat, the cost goes up quite a bit.

Still, worth it if you really like the recipes. But not necessarily a money-saver.


Regular customers can host parties, and if they make over $500 in sales, they get $65 in free products. If they sell more, they earn more, up to $165 in free product.

Cooking and sampling food in front of potential customers is also one of the best ways to make sales, so I’d imagine the parties are at least somewhat successful.

Startup kits for new distributors, or Consultants, range from $170-239.95, which is a little high for the industry.

Consultants get a 20% discount on future orders. They can also earn up to 30% commission on their sales, which is right at the industry average.

Still, you’re not making huge sales with this company, because even their big product bundles are under $100. That means you’re going to have to push sale after sale after sale to hundreds of people to see any real money off commissions alone. Even $1,000 in sales only nets you $130. [6] [7]

They also don’t offer much in the way of sales and marketing training, so unless you’ve got a solid background, you’re kind of on your own.

So, of course, you’re going to be reliant on recruitment for the real money. That’s nothing new with MLM.

You also have to purchase $400 worth of product every quarter to remain active, which is kind of a lot.

And the company doesn’t disclose the earnings of its distributors, so it’s really a blind investment that you might not make any money back on.


They’ve got a product that’s definitely loved.

And good food is really a product that sells itself if you find the right market.

But with products that don’t cost much, even with a good commission rate, it’s not easy to make much money off sales.

That seems to be the case with MLM in general.

Either you’ve got a product that’s good but doesn’t offer you a big profit return, or you’ve got a horrible product that promises great profit if you can sell it, but no one wants to buy it.

It’s not that I don’t like the company. In fact, I think Tastefully Simple has done a lot of things well. But they are still MLM, and MLMs are known for getting hot and then falling off the grid a few years later.

If you like automated ways to build passive income, there are better ways.

(and you can trash those old MLM habits, too)


No comments:

Post a Comment