Last week, I had a talk with the founder of Kitro, a Swiss startup developing a smart bin for the foodservice industry (to measure and hence reduce food waste). She was reminding me of the very limited amount of investments going into fighting food waste. Indeed food waste is responsible for up to 10% of the global greenhouse gas emissions associated with food.
Indeed, if we look at the investments in European FoodTech startups directly fight food waste downstream (and hence, excluding upstream while excluding upcycling startups using food waste as a primary ingredient to develop new food products):
- amounts are rising with mostly three types of startups: smart bins (Kitro, Winnow) to measure and reduce food waste in restaurants, apps such as Too Good To go or Olio, and services such as Smartway or Phénix dedicated to retailers.
- they are quite low (60M is 0,63% of the amounts raised by the overall FoodTech ecosystem in Europe in 2021)
Amounts raised by upstream startups working on food waste are rising faster, notably, new retailers marketing ugly produce (Misfits Market, Hors Normes) and companies using food waste as input for developing new food products. Just this week, a few deals were announced in this space:
🇳🇱 Dutch startup Reduced, raised €2.9M for its flavor enhancers created with excess produce.
🇮🇳 India-based Wastelink raised $1.3M for its solution that transforms manufacturing rejects and products unsold at the supermarket into animal feed.
The challenge with food waste is that is a multi-faceted problem. It is not possible to create a single solution to solve it. We definitely need more innovation from entrepreneurs, and to answer the question asked in the newsletter: yes we need more funding from investors. Even more, right now corporations should get involved too, to scale these innovations by:
- experimenting with upcycled ingredients, both by using them in recipes but also by enhancing their value to consumers;
- using tech solutions (smart bins, software, artificial intelligence) in foodservice and in retail.