10 Startups Addressing Food Waste and Hunger

Table with food and chalkboard reading, "Zero waste."

In the United States, food waste accounts for 30% to 40% of the country’s food supply. This is food that could help families in need or become compost material, but instead, it’s needlessly thrown away in the landfill. Not only is this incredibly wasteful, but the food being thrown out each day could be used to solve another crisis: food insecurity and hunger. The following startups are working to put an end to these pressing issues with their business so that no one has to worry about putting food on the table again.

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Startup Companies Tackling World Hunger

When it comes to creating a better world, entrepreneurs have some of the best ideas. The following startups are worth keeping an eye on as they tackle hunger and food waste.

Disclaimer: With so many exciting startups launching and growing worldwide, we aren’t able to cover them all. Furthermore, the startups that are listed below are not officially ranked and are listed in no particular order.

1. Full Harvest

  • Location: San Francisco, California
  • Funding: $8.5 Million

Full Harvest is taking the business-to-business (B2B) approach by offering surplus and imperfect produce to restaurants and other suppliers via their online marketplace. Their mission is to fundamentally change the food system process for the better through their offerings.

Over 2.5 billion tons of food isn’t consumed each year — much of it simply because of the way it looks. Not only does this waste food that could be feeding families in need, it’s also terrible for the environment. Full Harvest takes matters into its own hands by giving these items a second chance.

2. Martie

  • Location: Los Angeles, California
  • Funding: $3 Million

Martie is another woman-owned business that’s recycling items grocery stores want to throw away. Many stores often throw items away when there’s a brand change or new box design, even when the items may still be fresh! Martie takes those off their hands and sells them on their online marketplace, so they do not go to waste.

Explore more top startups in Los Angeles.

3. GoodrCo.

  • Location: Atlanta, Georgia
  • Funding: $1.1 Million

GoodrCo. takes local produce and gives it back to the community to directly fight local hunger. Not only do they pick up edible food waste from businesses and donate it to local nonprofits, they also partner with organic waste haulers to ensure that items that can’t be eaten are properly disposed of. Overall, they’ve stopped nearly 3 million pounds of food from being dumped in the landfill.

4. Tigoun

  • Location: Paris, France
  • Funding: €16,000 ($18,160)

Tigoun is a brand new startup that’s revolutionizing how we can make the initial farming process better for the environment. Winner of the 2021 Gabriel Prize, Tigoun targets the production chain level of the food growing process with a sustainable storage bag that’s not only made up of 80% biodegradable materials, but also significantly reduces post-harvest storage losses in countries around the world. (Typically, farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar lose 50% of their crops due to improper storage, meaning they make less to feed their families).

5. AmaiZonia

  • Location: London, United Kingdom
  • Funding: Unknown

Combining a love for the environment, social change for young kids, and state-of-the-art AI technologies, AmaiZonia is paving the way for food waste startups. Most farms and food supply warehouses use manual techniques to estimate when a product will spoil. This leads to hundreds upon thousands of items being thrown out before they actually go bad. AmaiZonia’s app utilizes their AI technology to provide a more accurate reading and reduce waste.

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6. qZense Labs

  • Location: Bangalore, India
  • Funding: $868,000

qZense Labs is an India-based startup whose mission is to transform the food supply chain with data. qZense Labs uses a unique technology to assess the quality of food before it’s shipped off to suppliers. This is often another manual task that results in unnecessary food waste, but qZense’s analytic solution is non-destructive.

Discover more top startups in India.

7. Clew

  • Location: Seattle, Washington
  • Funding: $400,000

Clew is another startup that’s brand new to the scene. While they’re still in the early stages of their food recycling prototype, this business has already received plenty of hype for their work. Their product is a countertop food waste recycler that recycles all food into a compact, reusable end product. The entire process takes two hours, and the output can then be used for compost in gardens or collected by local garbage services.

Explore more top startups in Seattle.

8. Perfect Circle Recycling

  • Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Funding: $20,000

Perfect Circle Recycling aims to create the “perfect circle” from food supply to sustainable waste. Using their turbo separator technology, Perfect Circle divides the actual food from its packaging. They operate at the local level and review Michigan businesses and their food waste needs. From there, they provide their clients with continual waste collection to make all community waste efforts sustainable.

9. Matriark Foods

  • Location: New York, New York
  • Funding: $250,000

Matriark is a woman-owned startup that collects surplus and misshapen produce for resale. Their upcycled products are available on their website and includes the first upcycled chicken broth. Users can also find delicious recipes available using Matriark products. They bring new meaning to taking something imperfect and creating something new.

Discover more top startups in NYC.

10. OLIO

  • Location: United Kingdom
  • Funding: $53.1 Million

OLIO takes a similar spin on preserving surplus food in their online marketplace with one twist: their offerings aren’t limited to just produce. OLIO takes any items from grocery stores that they’re about to throw out (which are typically things nearing their sell-by date/shelf life), and even groceries from your own fridge when you’re about to go out of town!

OLIO’s founders, Tessa Clarke and Saasha Celestial-One, have a vision of creating a more sustainable world by working together — and it’s as easy as downloading an app. Neighbors and grocers alike can create less waste with this amazing idea.

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