Agrifood Tech | May 31, 2022

ReFED and Closed Loop Partners launch funds to catalyze capital for food waste solutions

Dennis Price
ImpactAlpha Editor

Dennis Price

ImpactAlpha, May 31 – Berkeley-based food waste nonprofit ReFED and New York-based Closed Loop Partners are standing up three investment vehicles as part of the Circular Food Solutions Funding Platform.

A fund, targeted at $80 million, will be managed by Closed Loop to provide debt and equity. A separate $10 million philanthropic fund, anchored by Google, will provide grants and another $10 million “innovation” fund will test ways to help consumers waste less.

“To solve this system-level challenge, we need a system-level approach,” Refed’s Alex Coari told ImpactAlpha. The Betsy and Jesse Fink Family Foundation and others have committed early capital.

Catalytic capital

By co-investing and taking riskier positions, the $80 million investment fund aims to catalyze five to 10 times that amount in commercial capital.

Last year, investors deployed a record $2 billion into imperfect foods, cold chains, shelf life extension, food rescue, markdown apps and other food-waste tech companies. As much as $14 billion a year is needed to halve food waste by 2030 in the U.S. alone.

Coari says the benefits of the investment vehicles include reduced food waste and greenhouse gas emissions,  “but also unlocking additional capital into the space.”

Early grantees of the ReFED Catalytic Grant Fund include Upcycled Food Association, Food Recovery Network and Hidden Gems, a for-profit venture exploring value-added applications for recycled avocado pits.