Phood, the New York City-based startup that uses a combination of weight scales, computer vision and AI to help foodservice operators reduce food waste, announced today that it has raised a $2 million Seed round of financing. The round was led by New Stack Ventures and Story Ventures. This brings the total amount raised by Phood to $2.1 million.
Phood’s technology helps foodservice companies better understand and optimize how their food is being used. As we wrote earlier this year about the company:
There are three parts to the Phood system: a scale, a camera and a software backend. Food is placed on the scale either before going into a dish (to see how much is being used to make meals) or afterwards (to see how much waste is being generated). There’s a camera mounted above the scale that uses AI to automatically identify what each food item is.
The company’s system also connects with a restaurant’s POS and inventory management software to track what particular items are being used and who supplied them. So, if a cafeteria ends up with a lot of extra brussel sprouts, Phood tells the manager to adjust the business’s purchasing.
On its face, food waste is a huge problem because it means food has been, well, wasted instead of consumed, especially during a time when there are so many in need. Food waste is also an acute problem for restaurants, which already operated under thin margins coming into the pandemic. Now with dining rooms going through a second round of closures, restaurants need to get the most out of every dollar spent and literally can’t afford to let food go to waste.
Thankfully, there are a host of companies fighting the good fight against food waste all along the supply chain. Both Winnow and LeanPath offer similar services like Phood’s to help restaurants manage their food usage and inventory. Restaurant supplier Choco recently held a pop-up event in L.A. challenging chefs to come up with foods based on by-products. And earlier this month the nonprofit ReFed launched a $10 million fundraising campaign to help fund projects that reduce waste in the supply chain.
If you want to learn more about the problem of food waste, and what companies are doing to combat it, check The Consumer Food Waste Innovation Report over at our Spoon Plus membership service.