A recent study from Zest Labs about produce shelf life found that freshness varied significantly among products and stores. Furthermore, the study showed that the primary phase of food waste happens after the harvest, because of processing and harvest conditions.
Full Harvest founder and CEO Christine Moseley shared her ideas about stopping food waste with an Airbnb model in an interview with Forbes.
The Zest Labs study revealed that preventing food waste due to premature spoilage requires careful monitoring and evaluation. A simple difference in pre-cooling times can affect shelf life. For example, strawberry pallets that wait five hours instead of two hours have a three-day shelf life difference. Finding a way to use the produce before it spoils is important, and Full Harvest offers a solution.
"Full Harvest is a California-based technology company solving one of the world’s largest problems: food waste. We are a B2B marketplace that connects food and beverage companies directly with farms to buy imperfect and surplus produce. We create value along the entire supply chain by lowering healthy food production costs and significantly reducing wasted food and resources, while also bringing farmers an additional revenue stream," Moseley says.
Similar to Airbnb, Full Harvest is an online marketplace that connects people. Farmers can post what produce they have on hand, and potential buyers, such as juice and processed food companies that do not care what the fruits and vegetables look like, can search the inventory and have purchases shipped directly to their doorstep. So far, Full Harvest has sold over 10 million pounds of ugly and surplus produce. This is equivalent to preventing over 600 million gallons of water from being wasted, which is enough to provide drinking water for 11 million people for a year. It has prevented 3.5 million kg of CO2e emissions, which is equivalent to taking close to 800 cars off the road.
"The current procurement practices for produce from farms to buyers are primarily offline. Things are done largely with pen and paper and over the phone, email and text. In an industry that is now facing new strict food safety laws (FSMA), it will be almost impossible to have an easy way to comply without an online solution to trace orders," Moseley concluded.