With food waste a hot topic among environmental groups, many restaurants, supermarkets, food service and food manufacturing companies are joining the fight to combat the billions of pounds of waste created each year. Now, a start-up is attempting to keep food out of landfills in a way that’s unusual compared to others that are fighting waste from a charitable standpoint: FoodMaven is a for-profit enterprise, claiming it can make loads of money while combating the issue, writes Grub Street.
FoodMaven has raised $8.6 million of Series A funding, including backing from the family behind Walmart, the Waltons, and from former Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb, who has also joined the new company’s board. Clearly, though some studies show that food waste isn’t quite as dire a problem as previously thought, those in the food industry know it is still an environmental issue that desperately needs to be addressed.
How Does FoodMaven Work?
The company calls itself an “innovative online marketplace and rapid logistics company bringing agility and flexibility to the US food system.” The company’s goal is to capture and reclaim revenues from lost food, estimated at $200 billion per year.
FoodMaven intercepts oversupplies of still-fresh and high-quality food from distributors, manufacturers and producers and sells it to restaurants and institutional buyers at about half price, using “an efficient internet marketplace, big data optimization technology, and agile logistics model.” Food is sold on consignment, with customers buying only what they need. The company then splits revenues with the original supplier.
Unsold food is donated to hunger relief organizations.
FoodMaven operates on a zero-landfill policy.
Making Money, Reducing Waste
Currently serving the Front Range metro areas of Colorado, the company says it is working with 700 Colorado businesses, including restaurants, hospitals, schools, and senior centers, and expects to do about $10 million in sales this year. FoodMaven will deploy nationally in 2018.
Photo credit: Jbloom, Flickr Creative Commons