Technology

AI-Powered Food-Waste Fighter Afresh Nabs a $115M Investment

Afresh is currently working with more than 3,000 grocery stores to reduce food waste. A former Whole Foods co-CEO contributed to the funding round.
Food waste
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Afresh, a tech company that uses artificial intelligence to reduce grocery food waste, received $115 million in funding from a group that included the former co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, the company announced Thursday.

San Francisco-based Afresh said it will use the cash infusion to expand the reach of its Fresh Operating System platform to new categories like meat and bakery. The system helps stores with forecasting, inventory, ordering and store operations. The money will also be used to increase the company’s workforce, while also helping it expand to Europe, Afresh said.

Afresh’s technology is slated to be rolled out to more than 2,300 Albertsons locations by the end of the year, the company said.

The company tripled its customer base last year, signing on both regional and national chains, it said. It currently has partnerships with more than 3,000 stores in 40 states, including WinCo Foods, Heinen’s Save Mart, Bashas and Cub Foods.

Markets that use Afresh have reduced food waste by an average of 25% or more, the company said, while also posting a more than 40% increase to their produce operating margins, with a 2% to 4% increase in revenue growth.

The Series B funding round was led by Spark Capital, with participation from Insight Partners, VMG Partners and Bright Pixel Capital, as well as Walter Robb, former Whole Foods CEO and current senior executive partner at S2G Ventures.

Afresh’s prior investors also participated in the funding round, bringing the company’s total lifetime funding to $148 million.

“We founded Afresh with the purpose of eliminating food waste and making nutritious food more accessible,” Afresh CEO and Co-Founder Matt Schwartz said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to use this capital to expand the scale and scope of our Fresh Operating System.”

Afresh, founded in 2017, uses its AI technology to optimize food ordering, inventory, merchandising and operations, all with the goal of reducing food waste.

“Afresh is building a tool for the modern age that not only helps grocers manage fresh categories more effectively but also cuts down on food waste at the retail level, which amounts to 30% to 35% annually,” Robb said in a statement. “I was impressed by how closely Afresh partners work with store teams to ensure its technology is not only easy but empowering to use, effectively enabling grocers to serve the freshest food to their customers.”

 

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