4 technologies tackling food waste in the supply chain

Food waste statistics are easily misunderstood. Between all the stakeholders, consumers contribute the largest quantity of food waste — 27 million tons per year or 43% of the total, according to Refed, a U.S. nonprofit tasked with reducing food waste.

That stat alone has led to educational campaigns and ugly produce delivery services encouraging consumers to waste less​ and change the way they think about fresh produce.

But a recent analysis by the Boston Consulting Group determined the role of private sector companies is the “most critical” in the fight against food waste. Supply chain infrastructure and efficiency alone could reduce the amount of food wasted by $270 billion (in value) of what the report estimates to be a $1.5 trillion problem by 2050.

Read the full story at www.SupplyChainDive.com.

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HelloFresh Taps Spoiler Alert to Cut Food Waste by 65%

In less than a year, international meal kit player HelloFresh has reduced its land-fill bound waste by 65% with the help of Boston-based startup Spoiler Alert, a software and professional services startup that helps food businesses manage unsold inventory.

The meal kit company contacted Spoiler Alert in the spring of 2017 and began a pilot with HelloFresh’s New Jersey distribution center in July. By December, they were ready to roll out the program in all of HelloFresh’s US centers. HelloFresh delivered 39.5 million meals to customers in the three-month period from October 2017 to December 2017.

“[Spoiler Alert] integrates very easily into our data infrastructure. We first tested it at one site and our Table to Table [food rescue] partner was very positive on the tool. We very quickly went from an initial screen to the pilot,” HelloFresh COO and managing director Uwe Voss told AgFunderNews.

Read the full story at www.AgFunderNews.com.

Startup Using Deep Learning to Fight Food Waste Raises $2m Seed Round

AgShift, a California-based food inspection technology startup using deep learning to assess the quality of produce has raised a $2 million seed round led by Exfinity Ventures, an Indian VC focused on frontier technologies.

AgShift applies deep learning to the inspection of fresh produce through a mobile app. At every point in the supply chain from farm to wholesaler, to distributer, to packer or processor, to retailer, fresh produce is inspected for freshness, damage, size, and color to fit within the specifications the industry has set as well as the USDA’s grading system.

Currently this process, according to AgShift founder Miku Jha, is time-consuming and subjective. Receivers accept a palate of produce, unwrap the palate, remove a few packages and inspect them either with the human eye or using rulers, evaluating size, color and amount of bruising. This process leads to inconsistency of quality arriving at the final destination, which ultimately leads to food waste.

Read the full story at www.AgFunderNews.com.

NYC Hosts First Food Waste Fair for Exploding Food Waste Innovation, Revealing Challenges

New York is a good place to start if you’re looking to tackle food waste. The same population density that makes it heaven for delivery startups also means that food waste — possibly from those deliveries — is ripe for the taking.

Food waste issues are coming into the mainstream as investors and municipalities realize that there is money to be saved and made in keeping food out of the landfill, and this week the New York City Sanitation Department held the first ever NYC Food Waste Fair in Brooklyn to bring together city officials, chefs, investors, and food waste startups to do just that.

Startups focused on food waste have raised over $250 million in the last three years, according to AgFunder data. There was a slight increase to $133.7 million in 2016 compared to 2015, when they raised around $100 million, according to AgFunder’s 2016 AgTech Investing Report. The technologies that raised funding included e-commerce platforms like Full Harvest, that aim to reduce food waste by selling unwanted but perfectly edible produce. Waste repurposing and shelf-life enhancement technologies also made up part of that figure.

Read the full story at www.AgFunderNews.com.

New Jersey Investor Pledges to End Supermarket Waste in Five Years

California Safe Soil (CSS) technology is headed to the East Coast in a big way with the goal of ending supermarket fresh food waste in the United States in five years.

CSS uses a patented enzymatic digestion process to turn fresh food waste into fertilizer and animal feed. And one of its investors — board member Justin Kamine of KDC Agriculture, a subsidiary of Kamine Development — is licensing the tech to build a plant somewhere in the New York City tristate area. In addition to the Kamine family, Howard Buffet and former USDA Secretary Anne Veneman are on KDC Ag’s advisory board.

The $40 million East Coast plant will be roughly double the size of CSS’s West Sacramento facility, taking in 60,000 tons of fresh food waste per year generating 12 million gallons of fertilizer and 12 million pounds of animal feed. CSS’s current plant in West Sacramento will be able to process 30,000 tons of waste when the 80,000 sq.ft. facility is fully built out.

The process has four steps that mimic human digestion and lead to a stable a customizable result. First, the fruits, vegetables, baked goods and meat are ground to a sludge. Then enzymes are introduced to break down the fatty acids, amino acids and proteins. Next, the liquid is pasteurized using a heat and motion method, and finally a centrifuge is used to standardize the mixture into the fat, protein and simple sugar ratio needed to produce the company’s certified organic fertilizer product, called “Harvest to Harvest” (H2H), or any custom ratio that customers request.

Read the full story at www.AgFunderNews.com.