Funding Flows for Food Sustainability
Consumers are more concerned about the planet than ever before, and many are looking to spend their money in a way that matches their values. For food, that means buying plant-based products and choosing to buy food that would otherwise have been wasted, but it doesn’t stop there. Sourcing and packaging are also a priority for many consumers.
Recognizing these concerns, venture capitalists support companies that provide sustainable solutions to meet consumers’ dietary needs. Berlin’s anti-waste tech platform Choco announced on Tuesday, July 20, a Series B fundraiser of $ 100 million to support its goal of creating a “connected global food system.” Additionally, New York-based fast casual chain Just Salad also announced a new investment on Tuesday, raising funds in an undisclosed amount from circular economy-focused investment firm Closed Loop Partners.
“Food supply chains around the world have been subjected to stress tests over the past 15 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Choco CEO Daniel Khachab said in a statement. “This funding round allows us to build the technological backbone to make global food systems resilient, flexible and less wasteful. “
He added that the company will use these funds to grow its team and expand its platform, which facilitates workflow and communication for vendors, distributors and restaurants who “seek to operate more profitably, efficiently. and sustainable ”.
Just Salad, meanwhile, addresses sustainability from the restaurant side of the supply chain. The 40-slot fast-casual concept aims to take food waste out of the process, describing itself as “the fast-casual restaurant industry’s leading proponent of zero waste practices.” It is the first restaurant in which Closed Loop Partners has invested. The salad chain has a reusable bowl program to reduce packaging waste and it labels its menu with carbon footprint information for environmentally conscious customers.
“We are impressed with Just Salad’s innovative approach to integrating zero waste principles into their business. They are a pioneer of large-scale reuse models, creating the world’s largest reusable restoration program and demonstrating their commitment to extending the life of valuable packaging materials, ”said Ron Gonen, Founder and CEO of Closed Loop Partners. “Their continued growth demonstrates the viability, feasibility and desirability of circular business models. “
Consumer attention to environmental issues has intensified since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. BCG research shows that 70% of people say they are becoming more aware of the impact humans have on the climate than they were before the epidemic. And 87 percent said they believe companies should address environmental concerns more than they have in the past. Another study finds that 81 percent of Americans would appreciate it if there were more food options that take environmental concerns into account. Additionally, a November 2020 Forbes study found that more than half of all consumers prioritize branded products and services that “take a stand” when it comes to issues of social or environmental significance.
“If we can eliminate food waste, we can significantly mitigate climate change,” Madeline Rotman, sustainability manager at Imperfect Foods, told PYMNTS. “And it’s something that is not just about the grocery store, but the food system collectively. So it’s growing, transportation, logistics, restaurants, you know, the whole food industry. We cannot do it alone.