SHARK TANK - Daymond John, Barbara Corcoran, Mark Cuban, Kevin O'Leary, Lori Greiner and Robert Herjavec are the "Sharks" on ABC's "Shark Tank." (ABC/Patrick Ecclesine)

Hungry Harvest founder Evan Lutz was a student at the University of Maryland when he started his company, hoping to make a difference in others’ lives by providing needy people with rejected but perfectly edible fruits and vegetables at affordable prices. Today, the company is active in nine cities with plans to start its services in 30 more. Lutz appeared on Shark Tank in January 2016 and picked up an investment of $100,000. His goal is to put an end to food waste and people’s hunger while creating financial value for himself and his team members. Find out how well the farm-to-doorstep produce delivery service has been doing since appearing on Shark Tank, as we have a Hungry Harvest 2018 update for you here!

In the spirit of true entrepreneurship, Evan Lutz had a brilliant idea in 2014 regarding two shocking facts in the United States; roughly 40% of perfectly good edible food was discarded and that 20% of Americans face food insecurity!

Lutz’s breakthrough idea was to rescue the fresh produce that supermarkets reject and deliver it directly to consumers at an affordable price. This was to be done in partnership with Philabundance for programs like SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).

The idea had a twofold mission—to re-purpose “ugly” produce and fight food waste and hunger.

Lutz had seen that because the criteria for produce to be sold was very strict, so many tasty fruits and vegetables with high nutritional value were rejected. More specifically, perfectly edible items were rejected for small aesthetic imperfections.

Lutz explained, “Maybe an apple is too big. It’s not like it’s bruised or bad and moldy or anything like that. It’s just too big.”

So, what did he do about it?

At that time, Lutz was a student at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland. He had lots of passion and a head full of ideas, but very little funding.

He Started His Own Business in College

He didn’t allow anybody or anything to dampen his enthusiasm for his new idea. He set up produce stands at his university and packaged “ugly” fruits and vegetables into five-pound bags and sold them to the university’s students, faculty, and staff.

Soon, Lutz had hundreds of weekly customers, and his produce was selling out at his stands! So, he started his own company called Hungry Harvest in his college dorm room in the summer of 2014 and became its CEO, as well.

He then positioned Hungry Harvest as a to-your-door fresh produce delivery service and hit the ground running. His company recovered products that farms and supermarkets threw away, packaged them, and sold them to its customers at an affordable price.

Packages are Sold at Different Prices

Customers could register to the company’s service online and choose from a range of different sized and priced packages called “Harvests.” Their smallest package, the Mini Harvest, costs $17.00 while the largest package, the Super Organic Harvest, sells for $50.00.

Hungry Harvest also donated fresh produce to local organizations.

The Company’s Track Record Is Enviable

Today, the company is four years old with a team of over 40 people, spread across nine states with its headquarters in City Garage, Baltimore. Healthy Harvest has already saved over nine million pounds of food from being used as a landfill and given donations to those in dire need. In fact, people have access to over 800,000 pounds of produce through reduced-cost markets!

Evan Lutz’s dream came true. He had always wanted to become a social entrepreneur with the lofty goal of changing the social system. And he is now doing it every day with plenty of energy, enthusiasm, and happiness!

He Made a Successful Pitch on Shark Tank

In 2015, Lutz was invited on Shark Tank to pitch his business idea to a group of investors who would grill him with tough questions before deciding whether or not to back him. He appeared on Shark Tank in January 2016 and explained his business idea in detail to the sharp-eyed sharks.

Lutz asked for $50,000 for a five percent stake in his business, and some of the sharks were impressed.

Robert Herjavec made a deal with him and acquired a 10% stake in Hungry Harvest by paying an amount of $100,000. At that point, Lutz was selling his product only in the Baltimore area. But within a month of the episode airing, Philadelphia was added as a new market!

Later, cities like Pittsburgh, Richmond, New York City, and Miami were also added as new markets for Hungry Harvest’s products.

For Lutz, it’s more than a business. It’s a mission.

He said, “We really believe that produce is a right, not a privilege. So, we want everyone to have access to healthy, affordable food. Not only that, but with every box somebody gets, they’re reducing about ten pounds of produce from going to waste.”

Hungry Harvest after Shark Tank Appearance

Following their appearance on Shark Tank, Hungry Harvest has grown substantially. It now operates in nine cities or regions including Washington D.C., South Jersey, Philadelphia, northern Delaware, South Florida, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and Metro Detroit.

The company partnered up with several organizations like Oak Park-based Forgotten Harvest, Della Test Kitchen, and the Lotus House Women’s Shelter to distribute their produce to needy and hungry families.

He Has Ambitious Growth Plans

Lutz’s goal is to expand and launch Hungry Harvest in 30 more cities in four years.

He said, “It’s very fulfilling and very satisfying. We really think we are just getting started, and we have a lot of room to grow.”

Making a Difference

The brilliant idea that Lutz had when he was at college has now grown into an innovative and viable business. But he is not taking it easy for a minute!

Evan Lutz decided that he won’t rest until he has rescued all the world’s rejected food and provided them to hungry people at an affordable cost. It’s a visionary idea—and it’s already catching on immensely!

Also Read: What Happened With ENERGYbits After “Shark Tank?