What's happened after Shark Tank, a 2017 Retrospective
2017 was an incredible year for Peaceful Fruits. At times it was a grind and progress seemed slow and anything but inevitable, but looking back I can’t help but be proud of how far we’ve come.
Just over a year ago, we put a couple of fruit snacks in (compostable!) plastic bags with stickers on them in front of Mark Cuban and the rest on ABC’s Shark Tank. Since then, we’ve more than quadrupled our production capacity and doubled our team. Our snacks are better than ever – more flavors, better packaging, smarter production – and they have helped thousands of people learn about a better approach to snacking. And a better approach to business!
Shark Tank was an incredible springboard for us, because it helped us connect with people across the country. It led to opportunities from speaking to the National Peace Corps Association to highlight social enterprise and to presenting to top players in the food industry to push the disruption of “traditional” snacks. More importantly, it helped us grow our partnership with non-profit Blick Center and pay over $50,000 in wages to people with disabilities here in Akron.
That’s what makes me so proud. People always ask me if we “won” Shark Tank and I always give them a wholehearted yes. No, we didn’t get a deal. But we did showcase the incredible potential of the overlooked. Sustainable fruit from the Amazon and beyond. Organic, healthy fruit snacks from Akron, Ohio. Artisan, award-winning food production by people with disabilities. And we did it in a way that created concrete benefits for the people here who need it.
Looking ahead, that’s what I’m so excited for in 2018. We are continuing to scale up production, our team, and our efforts to share Peaceful Fruits with people across the country – the snacks and the story. And we aren’t stopping anytime soon.
So watch this space. Because it seems slow to us sometimes, elbow deep in the fruit as we are, but you can believe we are going full throttle towards making it possible for everyone to eat better for a better world. And things are moving!