Food Waste Insights + Innovation Forum: Co-hosted by The Spoon and ReFED

Past Event

Wednesday June 16, 2021 12:00 pm EST

Virtual Event hosted on Hopin

Join The Spoon and ReFED as we examine the way technology and other innovative initiatives are helping to curb food waste from the consumer kitchen all the way to the manufacturing floor and beyond.

Join food business leaders, investors, and entrepreneurs at the brand new Food Waste Insights + Innovation Forum on June 16, where we'll be exploring how technology and other innovations are helping to cut food waste from the farm all the way to the plate. Co-hosted by The Spoon and ReFED,  the Forum is a virtual half-day event featuring a mix of fireside chats, expert panels, innovator demos, networking opportunities with leaders across the food system, and an exhibition hall for exclusive one-on-one discussions with food waste innovators.

Key Takeaways

“Leveraging Innovation” Panel with Peter van Stolk, Julien Barber, and Priyanka Maholtra. Moderated by Jenn Marston, The Spoon

Hellmanns, Spud, and The Wonderful Company discussed how they are using innovation to reduce food waste in their business operations. Key insights included:

  • For startups or others looking to work with food businesses, it is critical to demonstrate how your solution can drive food businesses’ profitability and customer satisfaction, while also having a positive environmental and/or social impact.
  • As businesses analyze solutions and determine which should be integrated into their operations, they need to know how it will affect their supply chain, because a solution could have implications on existing vendor contracts and relationships, as well as the final product and value proposition to customers. For startups and others, be a thought partner for the food businesses during this process – this will demonstrate that you understand their industry and company.
  • The businesses reported seeing that consumers are willing to pay for products that were made sustainably, especially if there is a story to draw them in.  If you are a startup pitching to a company, it is great if you can show consumer demand statistics to demonstrate how your product or service would further increase consumer demand.

“Funding the Future” Panel with Sunny Reelhorn Parr, Matthew Walker, and Alex Behar. Moderated by Alexandria Coari, ReFED

Capital providers discussed how they view their role in the food waste ecosystem and what innovations are piquing the interest of the funder community. Key insights included:

  • There has to be an economic case for food waste technologies and solutions to attract the interest of many types of funders.
  • Different funders are looking for startups and solutions that are at various stages of maturity. If you are a start-up pitching to a funder, make the best use of everyone’s time by ensuring alignment from the beginning with what exactly the funder is looking for.
  • Scaling high potential solutions is exactly how funders view their role in the food waste space.
  • Upcycling and imperfect produce are solutions where funders have particular interest as of late.

“Sparking Innovation” Panel with Ricky Ashenfelter, Ryan Pintado-Vertner, and Christine Moseley. Moderated by Alejandro Enamorado, ReFED

Innovators discussed the challenges and opportunities COVID-19 has presented them, along with the advice they have for up-and-coming start-ups. Key insights included:

  • Building a regenerative and sustainable solution and finding a way to communicate the value proposition to consumers is the big challenge in getting solutions scaled and adopted.
  • Consumer education and awareness of the issue of food waste and its relationship to climate change is an important area for innovation.
  • Learning from the plastic industry and how it created awareness among consumers can provide a guide for how we can change the broader culture around food waste.

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