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ReFED and Upcycled Food Association launch Food Waste Funder Circle

The groups hope to empower investors to close the food waste funding gap.

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December 10, 2021

National food loss prevention nonprofits ReFED and the Upcycled Food Association have launched the Food Waste Funder Circle. The program is a dedicated network to support private, public and philanthropic funders who want to use their capital to scale solutions to reduce food waste. 

According to a joint news release, the Food Waste Funder Circle offers a curated platform for education, collaboration and investment to close the gap in capital needed to reach the national goal to reduce food waste by 50 percent by 2030.

ReFED says reducing food waste offers environmental, social and economic benefits by cutting greenhouse gas emissions and conserving natural resources. It also supports hunger relief for the more than 40 million Americans struggling with food insecurity. 

ReFED estimates that an annual investment of $14 billion over the next 10 years can reduce food waste by more than 50 percent each year. It can also result in an annual net financial benefit of $73 billion.

“Capital providers across the funding spectrum are critical to catalyzing innovation and driving adoption of food waste reduction solutions,” says Alexandria Coari, vice president of capital, innovation and engagement at ReFED. “There’s so much opportunity in the food waste space right now, and to keep building on that, it’s more important than ever to make sure that funders have the information they need to make smart investment decisions and have access to a network of fundable initiatives and partners ready to collaborate.”

Membership in the Food Waste Funder Circle is free and open to individual investors and representatives from funder organizations. Current members include Closed Loop Partners, The Kroger Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation, Crown Family Philanthropies, Circulate Capital, Trailhead Capital and Green Circle Capital. Member benefits include:

  • market update newsletters highlighting industry news and events;
  • a monthly deal flow report listing active investment opportunities in the sector;
  • quarterly educational events with like-minded funders from across the capital spectrum;
  • access to biweekly pitch events, as well as a repository of recorded pitch events and company profiles;
  • opportunities to participate in bespoke “deep dives” on particular issues through special working groups; and
  • access to dedicated “office hour” sessions with ReFED or its program partners.

The Food Waste Funder Circle was designed to help its members understand the food waste reduction landscape, explore investment opportunities and find partners for collaboration. The goal is to bridge the funding gap that exists at the intersection of food waste innovation and capital.

“There’s loss and waste at every stage of the food supply chain, so we need a full range of solutions including upcycling to fight it,” says Turner Wyatt, CEO of Upcycled Food Association. “The Food Waste Funder Circle is a way to connect capital providers to all the potential that the food waste space has to offer.”