About 40 percent of food produced by U.S. agriculture gets lost in a complex distribution system and is never used, contributing to the 133 billion pounds of food that’s hauled to U.S. landfills each year.
“This is not only a social and environmental nightmare; it represents an estimated $200 billion per year in lost revenue,” says Colorado Springs-based FoodMaven, an online marketplace designed to bring “agility and flexibility” to the big food system, providing savings on local and oversupplied food.
Earlier this month, former Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb joined FoodMaven’s board of directors.
“Walter is one of the most influential people in the U.S. food system, and we are thrilled to welcome him as a significant investor, trusted advisor and member of our board of directors,” said Patrick Bultema, chairman, CEO and co-founder of FoodMaven. “His decades of thought leadership in the food industry, experience at Whole Foods Market, and most recently his involvement in Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, will be instrumental as we continue to grow FoodMaven and transform how we think about the big food system.”
“FoodMaven is going straight at the growing challenge of food waste and has created an imaginative and innovative market-based approach to using more of what we produce,” said Robb. “I am excited to join with Patrick and (the) team to help with this effort and grow the company.”
FoodMaven says its business model complements the big food system by capturing high-quality lost food from oversupply, imperfects and local products. The company has built an online marketplace and logistics system for capturing, re-selling and delivering this lost food, drawing on big data optimization technology, and a logistics model for all food handling, safety and delivery.
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“We believe that the food system needs a ‘back-to-the-future’ play—an agile hybrid of the best of local, and the best of the current big food system, seamlessly blended together,” said Bultema.
For restaurants, institutional kitchens and other buyers challenged by limited time, tight budgets, stringent requirements and a continuous need to innovate, FoodMaven says it offers significantly discounted high-quality foods from trusted manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and local producers to complement their existing suppliers. Using the FoodMaven Online Marketplace, customers can select products and payment options, and choose a delivery window.
“FoodMaven saves us money, aligns with our values as a business, and allows us to be creative in the kitchen with our products. A win, win, win,” said Russ Ware, co-owner of The Wild Goose Meeting House in Colorado Springs.
For grocery distribution centers, food distributors, regional manufacturers, and local farmers and ranchers, FoodMaven provides a way to make a profit on products that would otherwise be lost completely or be logistically and operationally challenging. These suppliers face obstacles such as limited solutions for imperfect and surplus inventory and the lack of time to build new sales channels. FoodMaven aims to help them rescue revenue for their businesses by picking up, storing and selling their lost products.
Moreover, buyers and sellers using FoodMaven make a positive social and environmental impact. FoodMaven donates unsold food to hunger relief organizations and operates on a zero landfill policy.
“Our model is good for profits, people, and the planet,” said Bultema.
Following a final build out in the Front Range metro areas of Colorado, FoodMaven will roll out its services nationally in 2018. For more information, please visit foodmaven.co.