Two weeks ago, we talked about Olio raising $43M for its app that enabled users to share leftovers for free. The appetite for services looking for solutions around food waste is getting bigger. Now, it is Misfits that just raised a new round of $225M, doubling what it had previously raised and achieving a $2B valuation. Basically, Misfits is a US-based food e-commerce platform for fresh produce with a twist: it focuses its attention on “ugly” produce that would not have been judged fitted for sale. The idea is to sell these products with a discount and address consumers who may have no access to fresh produce (due to economic reasons or just because they live in a food desert, something quite common in the US).
DigitalFoodLab: this space of ugly produce and, more broadly, discarded food products is growing fast. If Misfits is the first unicorn in this space, many are raising large amounts of money, such as Imperfect Foods ($110M raised earlier this year, USA) or Matsmart ($41M in March, Sweden). Interestingly, startups create value (for themselves and consumers) out of the inefficiencies that will ever be part of the food supply chain.
However, as for leftover-sharing apps, one can wonder if the success of these companies is not bounded. For example, they face the challenge of sustaining ethical growth. Indeed, “ugly” fruits and vegetables have a place in the food industry; they are used for ready-to-eat meals and products such as compote or tomato sauce. Decreasing the supply of ingredients here will increase the price for consumers at the end of the value chain.