Evan Delahanty isn't just pitching fruit snacks when he shows off Peaceful Fruits in episode 816. He's pitching a socially responsible company that brings a sustainably harvested product to market with the help of people who have special needs. That's a pretty tall order.
Evan was in the Peace Corps working as a Community Economic Development Specialist in the Amazon rainforest. While there, he found the acai berry. Acai berries grow in the wild in the Amazon, and locals harvest them without any impact on the environment. This gives them an income without changing their way of life or farming methods. It helps the forest, the people who live there, and Mr. Delahanty.
The acai berry is a nutritional powerhouse and is the base for Peaceful Fruit Snacks. Delahanty processes the berries and turns them into fruit snacks in Akron, Ohio. The snacks end up as a strip, like a section of a fruit roll-up. His production facility in Akron employs people with disabilities who help him churn out the product.
Peaceful Fruit Snacks are selling well on Amazon, but this is a product that needs to be on store shelves. Delahanty likely wants a Shark to help him with that process. He is a social justice entrepreneur looking for his big break. Will the Sharks help him?
My Take on Peaceful Fruit Snacks
Acai berries are somewhat of a super food. They're high in anti-oxidants, fiber and heart-healthy fats. Many products containing acai berries make health claims, but they haven't been proven. That said, they are a good food source. Putting them in an all-natural fruit snack isn't going to hurt anyone an d they're certainly healthier than “main stream” fruit snacks that contain a lot of sugar and chemicals.
As a snack, it's not cheap – though most all-natural snacks aren't. Fourteen bucks gets you twelve strips of fruit snacks. My kids would rip through all 12 in one sitting! That said, if a consumer wants a quality fruit snack, they might pay the premium. Backers of Peaceful Fruit's Kickstarter campaign LOVE their snacks and I have yet to find a negative online review. The quality of the product and the story resonate with people. I think Delahanty has a winner here.
Will Sharks Like Acai?
It looks like Mr. Delahanty did everything right when starting his company. The social justice warriors will love the story and I have to believe the Sharks will love the snacks. The biggest objection he'll face is the very crowded fruit snack market which is dominated by big businesses.
Even with a great story, a solid product and sales, many times foods don't get the Sharks' attention because of the difficulty getting products on shelves. Delahanty better have some inroads into retail in place if he's going to attract a Shark.