Evan Lutz, a finalist in the Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership's 2014 Do Good Challenge, appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank on Friday, January 8, at 9 p.m., to pitch his company Hungry Harvest, which sells and ships surplus produce to local families and businesses. Lutz received a $100,000 investment offer from celebrity investor Robert Herjavec for a 10 percent stake in Hungry Harvest.
The episode of Shark Tank, a reality television show, saw Lutz pitch his startup business idea to a panel of high-powered investors. More than 45,000 entrepreneurs apply each year to appear on Shark Tank and only 150 startups are selected to pitch to the Sharks. Hungry Harvest plans to use the investment money to improve marketing efforts to expand the company’s customer base.
Six billion pounds of fresh produce is thrown away every year according to Lutz. Hungry Harvest takes surplus produce that is misshapen or oddly sized, but of similar grocery store quality, and sells it to subscribers in the Washington, D.C. and Maryland area. Those who subscribe to the service receive weekly deliveries of fresh fruits and vegetables at discounted prices. In addition, for every box that’s delivered, one is donated to those in need.
Lutz was an intern for 2012 Do Good Challenge Winner Ben Simon’s company Food Recovery Network and co-founded his own student venture Recovered Food CSA and pitched the idea during the 2014 Do Good Challenge. The team pitched the idea of creating an efficient food system to reduce waste. Following the challenge and graduation from the University of Maryland, Lutz co-founded Hungry Harvest in 2014. Since its creation, Hungry Harvest has recovered 300,000 pounds of produce to date and delivered 100,000 pounds to those in need.
You can also watch Lutz discuss Recovered Food CSA in the Terp Vision video from the 2014 Do Good Challenge.