Afresh’s Work to Eliminate Food Waste


Our mission is to eliminate food waste

We’ve written before on our blog about the problem of food waste, but as we wind down the year and look ahead at the release of our first-ever impact report, we’re taking stock of the progress we’ve made so far and the work we have left to do.

Here at Afresh, our mission to eliminate food waste and make fresh food accessible to all underlies every part of our work. By empowering produce managers to place perfect orders with our AI-powered recommendations, Afresh reduces shrink (the industry term for food waste) by an average of 25% and adds 2 days to post-sale shelf life. In the long run, this not only translates to a 3% lift in sales for stores but also happier customers (think fewer moldy blueberries) and less food languishing in landfills.

Food waste is a costly issue, for people and the planet

Of all food produced for consumption across the globe, about ⅓ of it is lost or wasted, meaning precious and costly resources like seeds, fertilizer, labor, and financial capital are squandered along the way. In the US alone, approximately $218 billion is spent each year growing, transporting, and disposing of food that is ultimately never eaten.

As far as the environmental cost, food waste generates about 8% of total global emissions, from the water, land, energy, and other natural resources used to produce it. Food is now the single largest category of material in municipal landfills in the US, and while creative solutions to reduce food waste at the household level should not be ignored, we’re laser-focused in looking up the supply chain.

Diving deeper: food waste at the retail level

About 40% of all food waste occurs at the retail level, with the highest occurrence in fresh food departments. This is partly because for too long, fresh has been deprioritized in terms of innovation - increasingly outdated systems built to support shelf-stable products see little utility for the inherently unpredictable world of perishables. 

Our revolutionary Fresh Operating System is built for fresh-specific variables and tasks, which translates into a better eating experience, and less at-home waste. With our solutions, we’re keeping nutrient-dense food out of landfills and in-stock at more accessible prices. 

Our impact so far

Since our launch in 2017, we’ve helped our retail partners avoid 6.9 million pounds of food waste, save 140 million gallons of water, and reduce their GHG emissions by 6.2 thousand tons. Given that reducing food waste has been identified as the most impactful solution to reverse global warming, there’s a lot of important work left to do. 

Check back soon for our annual impact report, and in the meantime, if you’re interested in being part of our mission-driven team, take a look at our Careers page.