Catalytic Capital | April 6, 2023

ReFED Catalytic Grant Fund backs seven consumer food-waste solutions

Roodgally Senatus
ImpactAlpha Editor

Roodgally Senatus

ImpactAlpha, April 6 — Berkeley-based ReFED launched the catalytic grant fund last year to provide nonprofits and for-profits $20 million in recoverable and non-recoverable grants to de-risk early-stage market-based food waste solutions.

Among the fund’s new cohort of grantees is Seattle-based Transparent Path, which is developing a mobile app that provides consumers real-time information on food freshness to avoid spoilage. Wisely is building a smart food storage container that uses sensors to track the time and conditions with which perishable foods are stored. Growing Places Garden Project, a Leominster, Mass.-based sustainable food nonprofit, is working to increase produce consumption and reduce its waste in food-insecure communities. 

Catalytic capital

“Grant funding can be particularly catalytic, in that this particular type of capital can support high-potential solutions that are not traditionally appropriate for market-investments,” ReFED’s Caroline Vance said.

ReFED hopes that the fund will have a similar impact to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s $100,000 research grant to launch Apeel in 2012. Vance said Apeel “has grown to be a widely-recognized leader in shelf-life extension, saving 33 million pieces of fruit from going to waste at grocery stores in 2021.”

The catalytic grant fund aims to divert close to 236,000 metric tons of food waste through its portfolio of grantees.