Sustainability remains a central theme in practically all agricultural industries. Food wastage is very much part of the issue.
Businesses like Imperfect Foods are highlighting the use of surplus and imperfect fruits and vegetables.
The San Francisco-based firm Full Harvest says it is “solving the $2.6 trillion [global] food waste problem through technology and innovation. The company runs the only business-to-business online marketplace connecting farmers with commercial produce buyers where they can purchase imperfect and surplus produce. This mission helps reduce climate change by lowering CO2 emissions and water use and delivers incremental revenue to farmers. Additionally, the company partners with brands on their efforts to create new sustainable CPG products and supply chains to meet consumer demand for sustainable products,” according to a recent company press release.
“This is one of the most important industries, and we wanted to automate and bring the industry online to solve things that haven’t been solved before,” says Christine Moseley, the company’s CEO and founder. “For example, there is a ton of paperwork involved in buying and selling, but by automating the onboarding process, that process that used to take weeks now take minutes.”
Full Harvest has developed technology that includes a spot marketplace with a matching algorithm and visibility so that buyers can see what suppliers have available. It has also created a third-party audit and verification process to provide consistent specifications in order to reduce the average amount of rescued produce that is turned away. The industry average stands at 10 percent, while the company’s rejection average is 1 percent to 2 percent, Moseley said, according to the TechCruch+ website.
Full Harvest has also gained another $5 million in financing from Rabobank, a major world lender to the food and agriculture industry, in addition to the company’s Series B funding of $28 million.
“Too much food ends up being wasted while it is still perfectly edible,” said Berry Marttin, a member of Rabobank’s managing board. “With our investment into Full Harvest, we support Christine and her team in tackling the very real problem of food waste at the farm level, by allowing farmers to sell all their fresh produce to commercial food producers, including imperfect or surplus produce. Innovations like these are essential to guarantee a safe and sustainable food supply for a growing global population, and are good for people, nature and to tackle climate change.”