Spoiler alert! The enterprise software startup, Spoiler Alert, works to help large food manufacturers, distributors and grocery distribution centers better manage their inventory to help reduce food waste and recoup potentially lost revenue.
Hopefully that doesn’t ruin the rest of this story for you.
It shouldn’t, as Spoiler Alert is one of the many companies using technology to tackle the very real problem of food going unused. Based in Boston, Spoiler Alert offers a business intelligence and relationship management platform that lets companies that move large amounts of food better understand their inventory and navigate when unexpected surpluses happen.
Unsold food inventory happens for a lot of reasons. Severe weather can interrupt transport, a buyer can cancel an order, or someone in the office could just be really bad at ordering the right amounts. Spoiler Alert’s software lets companies put this excess food to use, whether that’s finding an alternate buyer, turning it into a donation, or connecting it with a composting facility.
Let’s say TomatoCorp suddenly finds itself with a ton of extra tomatoes. These tomatoes are not spoiled and totally fine to eat.
Typically, TomatoCorp would have to go out and manually find someone to take the excess inventory, and hopefully do it before the food spoils and has to be thrown out. This takes time and pulls already busy people off the work they normally do.
With Spoiler Alert, this process is more automated. In this example, TomatoCorp has uploaded all the SKU data about the tomatoes, as well as the partners and buyers it does business with. Spoiler Alert will look at the surplus and help the company connect with potential buyers in its network, or with non-profits that can take the tomatoes as a donation. The software even compares whether a straight sale or the tax benefits of a donation are more economical for the company.
Spoiler Alert also helps companies understand their own ordering with granular tracking, so if it’s actually a person in a particular department that is consistently over ordering, the company can address that problem so it’s no longer a cause of inventory mismanagement.
Founded in 2015, Spoiler Alert has 11 employees and received a $2.6 million seed round from Acre Ventures (which is backed by Campbell Soup Company). The company operates in 19 states and counts Sysco among its clients.
Spoiler Alert isn’t the only startup looking to help get extra food into the right hands. Copia‘s platform helps organizations donate excess food, Imperfect Produce sells “ugly” produce at a reduced rate, and LeanPath sets up a scale and camera in cafeterias to help monitor and reduce pre-consumer waste.
But the folks at Spoiler Alert think their biggest competition is the status quo. Organizations are fine doing things the way they’ve always done them and don’t want to learn anything new. The easier companies like Spoiler Alert and others mentioned here can make it to put that surplus food to work, the better it is for our communities, our planet and (spoiler alert!) the bottom line.
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