Private Investment Surges in Companies Working to Reduce Food Waste

Americans throw away 133 billion pounds of food annually.

Americans throw away 133 billion pounds of food annually. TAZ/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

In the first 10 months of 2018, investors poured $125 million into U.S. companies whose mission is to prevent food from going to waste, according to a new report.

ReFED, a non-profit dedicated to drastically cutting the amount of food that becomes spoiled or is wasted in the U.S., said that the investments spanned a wide variety of companies focusing on new technologies, software, and business-to-business solutions. They include Apeel Sciences, which received $70 million in private financing to produce a natural second skin to extend the life of produce; Food Maven and Full Harvest, each of which received $8.5 million to help businesses sell excess or less visually appealing produce; Spoiler Alert, which helps businesses better manage unsold food inventory; and ReGrained, which makes flour out of spent distillers grains.

While ReFED does not tally investments in the food waste problem in other countries, the non-profit said that a host of other international companies in Sweden, Israel, France, and other nations are focusing on food waste solutions for businesses.

The problem is a huge one globally, with an estimated 30 to 40 percent of what is grown or raised ion the U.S. going to waste every year. That waste totals a staggering 133 billion pounds of food annually in the U.S. alone.

“As food waste has become a global priority, we’re excited to see rapid acceleration in the number of new products and services addressing food system efficiency,” said Alexandra Coari, director of capital and innovation at ReFED.