SF’s Full Harvest Bags $8.5M to Help Sell “Ugly and Surplus” Produce
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Full Harvest’s drive to find a market around unused produce comes as an awareness of just how much food humans are wasting—and its environmental impact—is getting increased attention. In 2015, the EPA announced a goal to reduce food waste by half by 2030, in line with similar goals put forth by the United Nations.
Another business focused on the food waste problem is Imperfect Produce in San Francisco, which encourages people to “eat ugly” and sells subscription boxes of deformed produce that the startup says costs consumers between 30 percent and 50 percent less than grocery store prices.
Moseley says the new investment in Full Harvest will be used to make hires for technology, sales, and operations teams. Full Harvest will start to expand to buyers east of the Mississippi River. “We’re looking to get more of a hub-and-spoke model where we can do geolocation matching on the most local supply,” she says.
The biggest concern that buyers have is whether there is enough supply and that the quality is still high—ugliness notwithstanding. “Our product comes to them faster with fewer hands touching it,” Moseley says. “It doesn’t sit in a warehouse for four days.”
The startup also plans to use data analytics to provide buyers with better information on how much they’ve purchased and the cost savings they’ve received, she says. “We’re getting more sophisticated analysis to bring them insights … [and] collecting data that’s not publicly shared on the market like pricing, willingness to pay.”
For Moseley, Full Harvest is simply taking a page out of successful strategies used by companies like Airbnb and Uber: selling excess capacity that otherwise would not be used. Whether Full Harvest reaches that sort of success remains to be seen. But right now, Moseley says, she is “getting calls from some of the largest food and beverage companies asking how to help them be more sustainable, which is exciting.”