As I did my weekend grocery shopping, I noticed my local store is still selling eggnog. Freezers full of the stuff. I can’t imagine anyone buying it post-holidays, and it seems like its fate is to wind up as waste in a landfill.
Which is just the kind of problem Stockholm, Sweden based startup Matsmart wants to fix. The company just raised 7.5 million Euros ($9 million USD) to expand it’s e-commerce marketplace that sells surplus food. EU-Startups reports that “Matsmart sells surplus food that would otherwise be thrown away, due to changes in branding or packaging, seasonality or short expiration dates.”
Matsmart operates in Sweden, Norway and Finland and says it has kept 708 tons of food out from going to waste and has revenues of €20 million per year. The new funding will help Matsmart expand across the Nordic countries and into Europe.
Food waste is a huge problem around the world. According to the USDA: “In the United States, food waste is estimated at between 30-40 percent of the food supply.” This is food that could have gone to families in need. It’s also a waste of labor, energy and materials, and food waste fills up landfills, releasing harmful methane gas.
Matsmart is certainly not alone in this space as startups are attacking the problem from many different angles. Gebni is an app looking to reduce restaurant waste by dynamically lowering the price of food for delivery. Industrial/Organic develops an anaerobic fermentation process to break down food waste and turn it into fertilizer and other products. And ImpactVision uses hyperspectral imaging to assess food freshness.
Hopefully ending food waste will be a rising trend in 2018, one that will lead to fewer unused cartons of eggnog in 2019.