Entrepreneurs are cooking up fresh businesses to reduce $1.2T of food waste

Every year, food waste costs the global economy more than $1T -- and a bunch of startups are trying to tackle the problem from several angles.

August 27, 2018

This past year, the world wasted 1.6B tons of food, resulting in a loss of $1.2T. Research by the Boston Consulting Group predicts that the amount of food waste will rise to 2.1B tons (and $1.5T) by 2030.

According to the research, there’s a $700B opportunity in the food supply chain due to 4 main problems: Crappy infrastructure, low efficiency, lack of incentive, and poor collaboration. But in the past month, several startups have raised money to address each of these issues:

Improving infrastructure (by solving the age-old avocado issue):

Apeel Sciences, which makes a plant-based second skin that keeps produce fresh 3x as long, raised a $70m Series C.

Increasing efficiency (because day-old pastries are a BARGAIN): 

Karma, which provides chefs and grocers with a marketplace to sell unsold food at a discount, raised a $12m Series A.

Offering incentives (cuz even ugly cukes deserve love):

Imperfect Produce, which delivers unsellable but tasty ‘ugly’ veggies to consumers, is in the middle of a fundraising round authorized up to $30m.

Facilitating collaboration (because no juice is worth a $10 squeeze):

Full Harvest, which provides a B2B marketplace that links excess farm produce with businesses like juicers, raised an $8.5m Series A.

So far in 2018, VC firms have invested more than $2B in food tech

If all goes well, these startups could reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with food waste and help feed the 870m undernourished people across the planet all while making their investors happy.

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