Food waste tech firm Afresh raises $115M

Dive Brief:

  • Afresh, a technology company that uses artificial intelligence to help reduce food waste at grocery stores, has raised $115 in a Series B round led by Spark Capital, according to a press release last week. Walter Robb, senior executive partner at S2G Ventures and former co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, participated in the round.
  • Afresh said it will use the new funding to “scale across thousands more stores” and expand its Fresh Operating System to new categories such as meat and bakery. The California-based technology company also said it plans to use the investment to grow its team and expand in Europe. 
  • The funding round comes at a time when grocers are facing pressure to cut costs and make their operations more sustainable, with food waste reduction as one of the key areas to tackle.

Dive Insight:

The latest funding round can help Afresh get closer to achieving its goal of working with 10% of grocery stores in the U.S. by the end of 2022.

Founded in 2017 and headquartered in San Francisco, the technology firm offers its AI-powered Fresh Operating System to help grocers stem food waste in their produce aisles. The system offers solutions for forecasting as well as inventory, ordering and store operations — areas Afresh said are “disjointed processes” for retailers.

Stores using Afresh get AI-powered product ordering recommendations to help strike a balance between keeping shelves stocked and having excess food that ends of gets discarded. Afresh’s technology also allows retailers to track item-level sales, shrink and merchandising data.

On average, stores using its solutions reduce food waste by 25% or more, according to Afresh.

As Afresh aims to scale the number of stores that use its technology, it’s also looking to expand beyond produce to other fresh categories, like meat and bakery, to help prevent food waste there. The company claims it’s on track to help retailers avoid creating 34 million pounds of food waste by the end of this year. 

Afresh said it tripled its customer base in 2021. It counts Albertsons, Cub Foods, WinCo Foods and Heinen’s among its retailer partners.

The Series B round brings Afresh’s total funding raised to $148 million. The company previously raised $13 million at the end of 2020, and at the same time announced that former Ahold USA CEO James McCann had joined its board.