How We’re Helping Solve the Global Food Waste Crisis

Understanding the retail food waste problem

Food waste occurs at every step of the supply chain, from raw harvesting and production to distribution. One of the most glaring issues we uncovered when digging into this problem was the role grocery stores play in exacerbating this waste. We discovered that retailers generate 16 billion pounds of food waste each year. We pay for the piles of apples and fresh avocados we see when we walk into a grocery store — and we also pay for the fact that, on average, one in three of those items is thrown away in the garbage. It’s even worse in certain aisles, as 35% of bread goes unsold and 40% of deli sandwiches get tossed in the trash. Why does this problem persist? It is in part because grocery stores rely on guesswork to stock their shelves.

Where sustainability meets innovation: Meet Shelf Engine

At PLUS, sustainability is one of our core investment themes. We seek to partner with startups that leverage technology to solve some of the toughest problems for the benefit of people and the planet alike. Upon meeting Stefan Kalb, founder and CEO of Shelf Engine, we learned that this has been the playbook Shelf Engine has been running for some of the biggest grocery retailers and foodservice providers in the country including Kroger, Whole Foods, Compass Group and many others.



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