What Happened To Peaceful Fruits After Shark Tank?


Back in the pre-"Shark Tank" days when Peaceful Fruits founder Evan Delahanty was trying to promote his fruit snacks by passing out samples at a grocery store, he caught some flak from people. As he told the Business Leadership Series podcast, they wondered why he was "selling an expensive Fruit Rollup." Instead of coming back with what might seem like the obvious answer, that being to appeal to all those bougie parents who wouldn't dream of purchasing anything so plebeian as Fruit by the Foot, Delahanty had a much better story prepared. As he told the "ForceBrands" podcast, he launched the company to create a market for fruits sourced from the Amazon rain forests where he'd worked as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Besides selling healthy fruit snacks made with superfood açaí, one of Peaceful Fruits' main selling points is its hiring practices. Not only does it use local people to harvest the Amazonian açai berries used in its snacks, but it employs disabled workers for its Ohio-based production and distribution facilities. The reasons for it seem to be economical as well as pro-social since Delahanty has said that these employees "do great work at a great price" while also allowing him to benefit from various state funds and grants meant to promote hiring people with disabilities. This makes his approach to employment a great PR tool and something that, in his own words, is "cheaper and more efficient." But would the Sharks smell a deal in the water?

What happened to Peaceful Fruits on Shark Tank?

To make a short story shorter, when it appeared on "Shark Tank" in 2017, Peaceful Fruits, well, tanked. No deal for the company. This wasn't a real tragedy for Delahanty as he hadn't actually expected to make a deal in the first place. By the time he appeared on the show, he was well aware that it wasn't realistic to expect that a company with just $20,000 in revenue would be able to get the $75,000 investment he was requesting in exchange for a 20% share. For that amount of money, investors would expect, at minimum, 10 times the sales volume that Peaceful Fruits was experiencing at the time.

Still, it wasn't a complete loss for Delahanty as he did get what he called "15 minutes of fame on reality TV" (via "Business Leadership Series"). He was also able to obtain footage of the Sharks appearing to enjoy his product, something that made for a valuable endorsement in and of itself. Finally, Delahanty had ample opportunity to enhance his own image as he was able to engage Mark Cuban in a discussion about the value of social enterprise and how it would be the wave of the future. If you're not up on your business lingo, the term social enterprise basically means making money while at the same time doing something to help people or the environment or some similar worthy cause.

Peaceful Fruits post-Shark Tank

Whether due to Delahanty's savvy marketing or just the magic fairy dust that reality TV sprinkles all over everything, Peaceful Fruits did, in fact, get that $75,000 it was asking for, although not from the Sharks or other investors. Instead, the company earned it the new-fashioned way by ringing up sale after sale from "Shark Tank" viewers hungry for these "as seen on TV" fruit snacks. In just 10 minutes after Delahanty's impassioned claim that he would continue to build his company for the people of the Amazon and Akron hit the airwaves, Peaceful Fruits had 1,000 orders and its phones didn't stop ringing. In fact, the company says it likely hit the $75k mark within the first week. The production rate, too, went from 400 snacks a day to 2,000, while the company more than doubled the number of employees by going from 10 to 25

This phenomenal boost in sales, however, did not come without a price. Delahanty does say that mistakes were made in the early days and the company struggled with making the supply meet the new demand. The consummate salesman, however, admitted on the "Outside the Tank" podcast that he tried to avoid apologizing for any delays in shipping. In fact, he says he took pride in the fact that he was able to make at least one dissatisfied customer apologize to him after he pitched them a sob story about the steep price of success.

The company's still doing business in 2023

Six years and one worldwide pandemic after its "Shark Tank" appearance, Peaceful Fruits still seems to be peacefully selling fruit snacks. Sure, the post-TV bump may not have lasted, but the company seems to have enough customers to keep on keeping on. In 2018 it expanded from its original Akron HQ into new quarters in a Barberton building that once housed a Burger King. While Delahanty was originally reluctant to lease such a facility, a later interview with Miami University's environmentally-focused GreenHawks Media finds him bursting with pride over how the company is essentially recycling an unwanted building.

As of 2022, Peaceful Fruits had 61 employees and an annual revenue of $12,816,000. A growth chart provided by Kona Equity shows what seems to have been a steady rise in sales and, according to the investment firm, its growth and revenue are above average for the food manufacturing industry. Just because your social media feed hasn't been flooded with Peaceful Fruits posts, this is no indicator that the company itself is dormant. It's not that Peaceful Fruits is peacing out, but simply that it's not overly aggressive with social media marketing. At the time of writing, it hasn't posted anything on either Facebook or Instagram since late 2022, but it has undergone similar social media droughts before and come back strong. Overall, it looks like Peaceful Fruits is still on a pretty solid footing.

What's next for Peaceful Fruits?

As Peaceful Fruits acknowledged in a Facebook post from September of last year (breaking a silence that had lasted over a year and a half), "It's been a while." It went on to explain, though, that its absence was due to being "busy whisking up our yummy product line." Newly added to the menu, as of last year, are fruit-based candies including dips, dots, laces, spirals, stacks, stickers, sticks, strips, and tape. (No Fruit Wrinkles, though. Sorry, '80s fruit snack fans.) These can be ordered not only on Peaceful Fruits' website but also on Amazon.

Yes, that's the other big news in Peaceful Fruits' happy little orchard. Apparently, the company decided in 2022 that the time was ripe to take on a new retail partner, thus partnering up with Amazon. Not all of its products are currently available through this third-party vendor, though, and many of the ones offered appear to be sold out at present. Still, most of the products available on Amazon either currently or in the recent past seem to have generally positive reviews, so it seems as if this partnership has so far been a fruitful one. While we don't know if there are plans to expand the online sales to other partners, Peaceful Fruits' snacks have been available in-store at Ohio Targets in the past so Target's website might be another platform for the company to explore if it ever does wish to branch out.