By Erika Clugston
We’ve all felt the sting of spending $13 on a juice or smoothie that, let’s be honest, we could probably have made ourselves. How much could a banana, some spinach, and blueberries really cost?! The rise of exorbitant produce costs traces back to the farms, where perfectly edible food is being thrown away if it doesn’t adhere to the specific aesthetics required by grocery stores. But although the food being thrown out may not be nice to look at, it’s still perfectly edible.
Full Harvest, a San Francisco-based startup founded by Christine Moseley, is working to eliminate this food wastage by connecting large farms with companies that don’t need ‘pretty’ produce, such as juice franchises. By connecting the two via a B2B marketplace, the farms can sell more of their crop and companies can make their products more affordable.
The startup has just closed a series A funding round with $8.5 million in investment from Spark Capital, the lead investor, and Cultivian Sandbox Ventures, joining the seed fund lead investor Wireframe Ventures and bringing Full Harvest’s total funding up to $10.5 million. That’s a lot of produce saved! And while Full Harvest is deserving of backing for no reason other than its own genius, it’s also exciting to see female founders closing major investment rounds, particularly in the agricultural sphere.
Christine Moseley’s vision for the company comes from her own personal experience in the food industry, working at farms, seeing perfectly good produce thrown away. “I was the crazy person that no one understood talking about food waste and now people are starting to get it,” she told Project Entrepreneur. She saw the consequences of picky consumers rejecting ugly produce, and in turn the resulting wastage at farms.
According to the The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), an agency created by the United Nations, approximately one third of food produced in the world for human consumption every year is lost or wasted. That’s around 1.3 billion tons, and amounts to financial losses of $680 billion in industrialized countries and $310 billion in developing countries. And these losses hurt everyone, from farms and commercial retailers to consumers.
Full Harvest is working to bridge these gaps, connecting vegetable farms greater than 1000 acres and fruit farms larger than 100 acres with commercial buyers. While there are other startups working with excess produce, namely Imperfect Produce and Hungry Harvest, they work directly with customers and focus on the B2C market. By connecting farms with big buyers, Christine hopes to see farms getting value for produce they’re currently throwing away, and for commercial buyers to get cheaper prices, allowing them to price their products more affordably. In other words, cheaper smoothies here we come!
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