2018, The Year Food Waste Was Finally Taken Seriously

GI_Market_food_waste_web

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

This is the time of year, in the days prior to the USA Thanksgiving holiday, when I tend to recall the first time food waste, one of the oddest of plagues, came to my attention. Thank you Meg. And thanks to Yale e360 for reporting this heartening news:

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.

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