Start-Ups Are Chasing Ways to Use Food Waste- a Platform for Commerce

Stephanie Strom reported in Friday’s New York Times that, “Just as Rumpelstiltskin spun gold from straw, scores of new companies are trying to spin profits out of food waste.

Several start-ups are chasing ways to use food waste to make other edibles. Some are aiming to quickly distribute food that is about to be thrown out. And yet others are working to use every last ounce of ingredients.

Food waste, in other words, is now a platform for commerce.”

Ms. Strom explained that, “The businesses have a lot to work with. As much as 40 percent of the American food supply goes in the trash. Most of the waste comes from consumers and retailers, the government estimates, and in recent years, the issue has resonated, particularly with younger consumers.”

The New York Times article added that, “Some of the new businesses can bootstrap their operations, since they are essentially taking inexpensive or free scraps from others. But many have taken outside investment.

“Take Cerplus, for instance, which raised a small amount from friends and family investors late last year and got $20,000 from Y Combinator in exchange for securities if Cerplus has a financing round or sells for more than $100 million. The company started in January as a sort of online go-between, linking farms and wholesalers with food on the verge of going to waste with restaurants and other businesses.

“‘We let people know what’s available and offer a pretty good discount,’ said Zoe Wong, the co-founder and chief executive.”

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