As sustainability continues to be a top priority for consumers, food companies are put in a position to promote their sustainable initiatives in order to draw in more customers. This might be why San Francisco, California-based startup Full Harvest, which sells imperfect and surplus produce, secured $8.5 million in a series A financing round led by Spark Capital.
“An astounding amount of produce is wasted today in the United States, but the intuitive and beautifully designed Full Harvest online marketplace is starting to change this dynamic and is already delivering dramatic business benefits for its customers,” said Spark Capital investor John Melas-Kyriazi. “By aggregating excess produce supply at scale and providing a superior user experience to growers and food buyers via software, Full Harvest is shifting the way the industry thinks about how produce is bought and sold.”
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the food industry is currently struggling to meet the global demand for foods, which results in excess food waste. In fact, the EPA claims that more foods reach landfills and incinerators than any other type of waste, which includes 20 billion pounds of produce that goes to waste each year due to surplus or cosmetic reasons.
Full Harvest’s mission is to combat this unnecessary amount of food waste by selling these surplus and imperfect produce products to food companies at a lower price than “perfect” produce items. This, in turn, can save money for food companies while providing additional revenue to farmers. The company plans on using their new funds to further their mission, expand their footprint in the US and triple the size of their technology, sales and operations teams.
According to Full Harvest, they have helped large farms sell and deliver about seven million pounds of produce so far. The company claims that this amount of produce is equivalent to enough drinking water for seven million people for an entire year and the prevention of 2.5 million kilograms of CO2E emissions.
In addition to helping out the environment, Full Harvest is also helping local US farmers. In fact, the company has already increased the profit of a large American farm by 12 percent per acre. They have also helped a national CPG company reduce the time it takes for them to procure produce by 96 percent. Additionally, by saving food companies an average of 15 percent off produce prices, the company hopes to reduce the overall cost of healthy food options for consumers.
“We need to move beyond the archaic nature of buying and selling produce to get the most from each harvest and make sure no food goes to waste. Our marketplace will drive a waste-free future on produce farms that benefits growers, food and beverage companies, and consumers,” said Christine Moseley, founder and CEO of Full Harvest. “Using this investment to expand nationally and roll out new platform capabilities and produce offerings, Full Harvest will get more produce directly from farms to food and beverage producers—faster, fresher, more affordably and with advanced traceability.”