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ReFED to fund food waste startups

illustration of a smoking earth on the end of a fork

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

ReFED, a nonprofit working to reduce food waste in the U.S., is raising $10 million to support startups and other nonprofits in the space.

  • Google is providing the first $1 million for the catalytic grant program, which is part of a larger investment initiative.

Why it matters: Food waste is a significant contributor to climate change because it siphons away precious natural resources that could otherwise be preserved.

  • It will take $14 billion a year to cut food waste in half by 2030, said Alexandria Coari, ReFED's VP of capital, innovation and engagement.

Details: The nonprofit already runs its Food Waste Funder Circle, which highlights investment opportunities in the space.

  • There are currently about 140 companies seeking funding, with three startups per week chosen to give pitches.

Between the lines: The program offers grants that allow startups to prove themselves, which in turn can help them raise more traditional VC and PE investment, Coari said.

Of note: Notable existing players working in food waste reduction include Misfits Market, Imperfect Foods, Full Harvest, Lineage Logistics, Afresh, Spoiler Alert and Too Good to Go, Coari added.

The bottom line: Of the many billions of dollars it will take each year to lower food waste, Coari estimates that $3 billion will need to come from catalytic capital.

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