Skip to main content

The Next Bite: The Entrepreneurs

Leftovers can be money

Plates of food on a table Adobe

Food waste may be an environmental scourge, but now it’s also big business. Venture capitalists have poured some $125 million into food waste-related start-ups so far this year, according to Chris Cochran of ReFED, and Boston entrepreneurs are among those taking advantage. Software company Spoiler Alert, created by MIT Sloan alumni, helps food businesses manage surplus inventory (its customers include Sysco, the world’s largest food wholesaler) and runs an online marketplace for discounted food sales and tax-deductible donations throughout New England. “There is a surprising amount of waste that can be addressed simply through information transparency — where surplus and distressed inventory is available and where there is a market for it,” says co-founder Ricky Ashenfelter. The same concept lies behind Seaport-based Food For All, which uses a smartphone app to match thrifty diners with restaurants that have meals left over at the end of the day. The industry has long seen waste as sad but inevitable, says co-founder Sabine Valenga, “but throwing away food is throwing away money.”

Editors Dante Ramos, David Scharfenberg, and Alex Kingsbury

Design and development Elaina Natario

Design Director Heather Hopp-Bruce

Audience engagement Heather Ciras

Illustration Cristina Martín Recasens

Next up in this series