FoodMaven, a Colorado-based food waste startup that works to keep food out of landfills, has secured $8.6 million in Series A funding. Among the investors contributing are the Waltons, the heirs of Walmart's founder Sam Walton and former Whole Foods CEO Walter Robb.
FoodMaven is certainly not the first organization committed to reducing the amount of food in landfills. However, what makes it unique is that it’s a for-profit enterprise, thinking more like a tech startup than a charitable organization.
The multimillion dollar startup essentially operates as a food consignment store. It will receive oversupplied food or products that are more than good but turned down by supermarkets for cosmetic reasons, and it will sell that food to consumers for much less than the market rate. FoodMaven sees this as a way to combat the age-old supply and demand inefficiency in the food market, and they've found great success in Colorado, having partnered with 700 Colorado businesses in roughly 18 months.
GrubStreet has more information:
Some of the grocery industry’s biggest names are throwing serious money and support at a new food-waste start-up. Colorado-based FoodMaven announced today that it’s pocketed $8.6 million of Series A funding from a handful of backers, most notably Walmart’s billionaire heirs the Waltons. This follows recent news that former Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb has not only made a “sizable” investment into FoodMaven but also joined the venture’s board.
Its goal is pretty simple — keeping food out of landfills by convincing kitchens that “unused” doesn’t mean still unusable — but make no mistake: What sets FoodMaven apart from other food-waste fighters is that it’s not doing charity work. This is a for-profit enterprise, one now with millions in VC funding and a board that includes a former grocery-industry titan. FoodMaven thinks it can make lots of money by reducing food waste, updating what CEO Patrick Bultema calls an “inefficient 1950s-style food system.” He argues that they’ve perhaps solved no less than one of the food industry’s oldest problems: The fact that demand is constant, yet the products themselves spoil rapidly, grow erratically year to year, and are seasonal. The result is a colossal oversupply of everything. Basically, supermarkets buy surpluses from distributors, which also source extra to be on the safe side, on top of farmers also producing more than they’ll probably sell, just in case. This safety net is important, but the waste adds up fast — to billions and billions of pounds each year.