In total, FoodMaven received $8.6 million in “Series A fundraising” and included an undisclosed amount from the Walton family according to Bloomberg. Their enterprise is worth around $150 billion and would easily be the biggest supporter for the startup. Patrick Bultema, CEO of FoodMaven, didn’t believe there would be any direct ties with Wal-Mart as they mostly work with suppliers.
How does this process fully work to lower food waste? FoodMaven buys excess food that would otherwise be tossed away. They’ll also take food that has cosmetic problems with it, such as products with incorrect wording or it may not be structurally appealing for consumers. The recovered items are then resold to other buyers, such as restaurants, grocery stores, and hospitals at a discounted rate.
“The industry has accepted waste as a cost of doing business” Bultema told Bloomberg. “We’re making pathways that don’t exist in the food system.” Approximately $200 billion worth of food is tossed out annually in the United States alone. While that figure doesn’t look as big when divided up by numerous suppliers in the country, it’s an eye-popping cost when combined.
FoodMaven has built their portfolio up rapidly from their launch in July 2016, now working with 700 customers in Colorado. They’re looking to expand to other large metro areas in the United States. Even if they buy too much food as they expand, the company has a process of donating what they can’t sell. After all, it’s pretty silly to throw away food that’s still consumable.
Wal-Mart’s backing of the startup would also go a long way in improving their own image. Considering the vast number of supersized locations and the growing trend of selling groceries at the department store chain, we’d expect a lot waste being generated.