Full Harvest Raises $2M to Make Ugly Fruit and Veggies Valuable

Consumers take it for granted, but the fruits and vegetables they see in grocery stores are the best of the lot. Tons of perfectly edible produce doesn’t make it to stores and is instead thrown away each season simply because the items are unappealing to the eye.

Agtech startup Full Harvest wants to cut down on this food waste with a software platform that creates a market for produce deemed unworthy for store display. The San Francisco company has raised $2 million in funding to support its efforts. Wireframe Ventures led the seed investment round, which included participation from BBG Ventures, Early Impact Ventures, Impact Engine, and Radicle. Angel investors Astia and Joanne Wilson also joined the investment.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, as much as 40 percent of food in the United States is never eaten. So much food goes uneaten that it now comprises one of the country’s largest waste streams. Full Harvest cites Environmental Protection Agency figures that list food waste as the largest category of waste sent to U.S. landfills and incinerators.

Full Harvest can’t stop Americans from wasting food they’ve already bought, nor is the company targeting food that’s already made it to the grocery store. Instead, Full Harvest is addressing the fruits and vegetables that, for cosmetic reasons or size, don’t proceed from the farm into the food supply chain. The company’s software connects farms to food and beverage companies, creating a marketplace for the produce. Companies can buy those fruits and veggies to make juices and other products. Full Harvest claims it can help recapture an estimated $10 billion of lost produce sales while also lowering the costs for food and beverage companies. In a prepared statement, Christine Moseley, Full Harvest’s founder and CEO, said the company wants “to turn the fruits and vegetable that would traditionally be wasted into a win-win for every player in the food supply chain.”

Moseley founded Full Harvest in 2015. Before that, she oversaw projects and developed business for New York-based Organic Avenue, a premium juice and food retailer. Full Harvest isn’t the only startup trying to use technology to cut down on wasted food. Software from Boston startup Spoiler Alert helps businesses that have surplus food connect with organizations that feed the hungry. Last year, Spoiler Alert raised $2.5 million in seed funding from investors.

With its capital infusion, Full Harvest says it will hire more workers and expand its software platform.

Public domain photo by Flickr user Pete.

Frank Vinluan is an Xconomy editor based in Research Triangle Park. You can reach him at [email protected] Follow @frankvinluan

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