The topic of reducing food waste is attracting more and more attention from entrepreneurs in the United States and Western Europe. A popular trend has become the organization of startups that provide opportunities for the sale of fruits and vegetables that have a non-marketable appearance.
Typically, most startups are venture-backed. The mission of such companies is to create a distribution channel for those fruits and vegetables that were not accepted by retail chains solely because of their non-standard appearance.
The largest retail chains are also involved in the fight against food waste. For example, the British supermarket chain Morrisons announced an increase in sales of "ugly" fruits and vegetables, and Sainsbury's and Tesco indicate on boxes of juices, smoothies and soups of their own production information about the use of "non-standard vegetables" in cooking.
The Maryland-based B2C project Imperfect Produce began as a non-profit Food Recovery Network (FRN) on the campus of the University of Maryland. The company purchased “ugly vegetables” from farms and delivered them to customers at a discount. Since its inception, FRN has expanded to more than 180 colleges and universities across the country. Imperfect Produce is fighting food waste by directly delivering 'ugly' vegetables to its customers at a 30% discount, ”said CEO Ben Simon.
The project is actively developing the movement to preserve fruits and vegetables in social networks. Last year, Imperfect Produce opened in North Texas.
Philadelphia's B2C startup Misfits Market resells off-market farm vegetables and fruits at prices 30% -50% lower than supermarkets. The cost of one box, excluding shipping costs, starts from $ 19. The client chooses the required amount of vegetables and places an order through the official website.
American B2B online marketplace Full Harvest was developed in 2014 specifically to ensure the distribution of non-market fruits and vegetables and reduce food waste.
“We help farmers sell country-specific products and surpluses that are usually written off because they are difficult to market. Processing companies buy back vegetables and fruits later, and farmers receive additional income, ”said Christine Moseley, founder and CEO of Full Harvest.
Baltimore-based Hungry Harvest rescues surplus produce from farmers and wholesalers, and buys leftover produce from packaging mills and wholesale distribution centers. Most of the vegetables are purchased from farms with an area of 80-200 ha. Thus, the project contributes to the efficiency of small businesses.
At the moment, the company is switching to the e-commerce system. According to CEO Evan Lutz, the Magento online platform will help suppliers to place an order and reduce waste along the entire chain.
Thanks to a well-chosen strategy, Hungry Harvest has expanded its presence in the states of Washington, Philadelphia, South Florida, Detroit, DC and North Carolina. It is noted that the location of the new divisions was chosen based on the activity of clients on social networks and website visitors.
The good food
Food waste fighter Nicole Klaski opened The Good Food supermarket in Germany to rescue products that were rejected by large supermarket chains due to irregular shapes or small fruit sizes.
“Imagine that everyone on earth would look exactly the same. How boring it would be! It's the same with vegetables. We should appreciate their diversity, ”commented Nicole Claskey.
In addition to harvesting vegetables in the fields, the group also collects products that are nearing the end of their shelf life in local grocery stores and which are usually abundant. The products are then marketed in the group's market in Cologne at a price that the buyers themselves consider to be fair.
The ice cream shop next door uses the bananas from The Good Food supermarket. In addition, an Indonesian restaurant on the next street prepares dishes from crops left in the fields near Cologne.
Juices "Waste Not"
The British brand Waste Not produces fruit and vegetable juices that have not been accepted by the retail chains. Manufacturers are currently exploring the possibility of reducing the price of a 250 ml bottle from $ 2.
Ugly Fruit and Veg Campaign
The Ugly Fruit and Veg Campaign is calling for the purchase of illiquid products, spreading the food conservation movement through social media. Activists are constantly reaching out to major retailers such as Whole Foods, Walmart and Target.
A source: FruitNews based on materials from the press service of Imperfect Produce, Full Harvest, Hungry Harvest, Misfits Market, The Guardian, NBC