Stop Food Waste Day, a global event held the last Wednesday in April, isn’t just a one-day concern for Katie Hotze, Jasmine Crowe, Emily Malina and other food-tech entrepreneurs.
As female leaders in a male-dominated tech world, Hotze (CEO of Charlotte, North Carolina-based Grocery Shopii), Crowe (CEO of Goodr) and Malina (president of Spoiler Alert) are working every day to create and refine digital tools to help eliminate food waste.
At Grocery Shopii, Hotze and her team are helping grocery stores curb food waste and improve sustainability through the company’s digital meal-planning platform. The platform can highlight for grocery shoppers – through recipes and social media posts – a particular ingredient, bolstering sales and reducing the chance that unsold food will wind up in a landfill.
“Recently, a farmer in Oklahoma found himself with too many freshly harvested leeks that needed to move – fast,” Hotze said. “The farmer reached out to the produce buyer at Reasor’s Foods, a supermarket chain that uses Grocery Shopii’s technology to power its online shopping platform. Reasor’s sourced an amazing leek recipe, added it to their online platform and blasted out the link through their social media channels. The farmer’s leeks? All sold out in no time.”
Crowe founded Goodr with a mission to “feed more and waste less.” In 2021, Goodr served 2,149,192 meals to people in need through its food recovery and popup grocery markets and it diverted 1,133,654 pounds of food from landfills. A new initiative is helping companies get to zero waste by composting non-edible foods or turning them into animal feed.
Crowe said she is optimistic that businesses are taking steps to end wasteful practices, often at the urging of digital-native employees. “What I love about this younger generation is that they are socially conscious and use social media as an important tool.”
Tech is also central to Spoiler Alert, which Malina and Ricky Ashenfelter formed in 2015 with a mission to eliminate waste. By using data to help blue-chip companies like Nestlé, Kraft Heinz, Campbell Soup and Danone make better use of excess inventory, Spoiler Alert was able to help customers transact more than 230 million pounds of food last year that otherwise would have been wasted.
“Food can be hard to manage at scale due to shelf life and many logistical challenges. Introducing technology allows for inventory decisions to be made more quickly and waste to be avoided in many situations,” Malina said. “There is incredible opportunity to expand that and to reap greater benefits for food businesses, communities and the planet.”
For more information on Grocery Shopii and its upcoming expansions, visit groceryshopii.com.