What do food waste management and technology have in common?
Startups have combined these forces to tackle the challenge of reducing food waste.
If you read my previous blog post, then you know food waste is a huge problem. Fortunately, there is a correspondingly large market demand for solving it.
In 2021, the food waste management market was estimated to be valued at $36.63 billion, according to this report conducted by Polaris Market Research. The report also forecasted that this figure will grow 6.6% annually until 2029.
Who are the players who are seizing upon the opportunity to implement food waste solutions?
Like many grocery delivery services, Misfits Market saw their business boom during the pandemic.
However, unlike their competitors, they do not deliver goods straight from the shelves of grocery stores.
Misfits Market works with farmers to supply their customers with fruits and vegetables that the farmers cannot sell to grocers because the product lacks an appealing appearance.
By selling farmers’ surpluses at a discount that would have ended up as food waste, they save consumers money on fresh produce.
Misfits Market have recently expanded their offering to include meat and seafood options as well.
The business continues to grow its network of farmers and supplies while simultaneously branching out into the West Coast.
Goodr, a startup based in Atlanta and founded by Jasmine Crowe, is driven by a mission to reduce food waste and hunger.
Much like Misfit Markets, Crowe saw the inefficiencies in the food system.
Utilizing blockchain technology, Goodr allows businesses to track the location of their tax deductible food donations from pick up to drop off.
Their waste management solutions allow food that would have become waste to instead be donated to nonprofits and local organizations seeking to end hunger. Some of the food is also sent to be recycled as organic materials.
Crowe does not see any contradictions between creating positive social impact and running a profitable business.
Too Good To Go
Food waste darling Too Good To Go may have started in Denmark, but it is now available in over 12 major U.S. cities.
Like Goodr, Too Good To Go utilizes an app that provides a platform for the reduction of food waste. And like Misfits Market, Too Good To Go targets food surpluses, although the latter’s focus is on restaurants.
Restaurants can sign up to be a part of the program, offering their leftover food on the app. Consumers then use the app to purchase the discounted food.
“We really talk about it as a win, win, win,” Claire Oliverson, a spokesperson for Too Good To Go, told CO—. “It's a win for the environment. It's a win for consumers — they get food at a third of the price and they get to try some new places. And then it's a win for businesses because they get a little bit of increased revenue from what would otherwise be waste.”
As consumers – especially younger ones – become increasingly concerned with the sustainability of the products they purchase, companies like Goodr, Misfits Markets, and Too Good To Go that lean into food waste management solutions will be in a position to “win”.