Winnow secures £5.6 million funding to scale-up food waste app

The movement of large investment into digital waste solutions has continued with technology company Winnow announcing today (23 October) that it is set to scale-up its fight against food waste after securing $7.4 million (£5.6 million) in growth capital following a successful funding round.

News in brief 27/05/16Winnow secured the funding through a growth capital round led by sustainability investors Circularity Capital, Mustard Seed and D-Ax with the intention of expanding its Winnow Waste Monitor app, which helps chefs cut food waste by ‘up to a half’ by automatically recording how much food they throw away.

The app, which has also been trialled in domestic kitchens, allows users to track and weigh the food items that they are throwing away as well as logging their reasons for doing so (e.g. burnt during cooking, bought too much, out of date). The app then compiles a report detailing the financial cost of the waste produced over a certain period and how that could be cut down.

With food waste costing kitchens between 5-20 per cent of all food purchased, imposing both a heavy financial and environmental burden on commercial kitchens, Winnow’s rapid growth and sustainable vision for the hospitality sector was deemed attractive by investors suitably impressed by the fact Winnow customers typically see their food waste cut in half after 12 months of using the Waste Monitor, reducing food purchasing costs by 3-8 per cent.

Launched in 2013, Winnow’s technology is currently being used in over 600 kitchens in 29 countries worldwide, including with hospitality brands like IKEA, Compass Group and Accor Hotels.

The Waste Monitor app has attracted high-profile support from campaigners such as celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who described Winnow as “a no-brainer for the hospitality industry”; retailers, with Sainsbury’s making use of the app in a twelve-month trial of its ‘Waste Less, Save More’ programme; and even politicians, with Environmental Audit Committee Chair Mary Creagh MP one of five MPs to trial the app in their own homes at the end of 2016.

The Waste Monitor seeks to bring both business and environmental benefits to customers, with Winnow estimating that its clients are saving nearly 4,300 tonnes of food waste and 19,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year.

The new funding will now be used to accelerate growth within Winnow’s existing customer base, strengthen its international capabilities to further broaden that customer base and to continue along its technology development road map.

Solutions for the hospitality industry

“This fundraising announcement is a key milestone in our journey and validation that our technology is driving real value for our clients,” said Marc Zornes, Winnow co-founder and CEO. “The hospitality sector is quickly waking up to the opportunity that food waste presents. We are encouraged by some of our biggest clients now having the confidence to make public commitments to reduce food waste, and we expect the rest of the industry to follow suit doing the right thing for their businesses and for the planet.”

David Mowat, co-founding partner of Circularity Capital, added: “This is a great fit with our focus on the circular economy as a lens to invest and create value. Globally, we throw away an estimated $1 trillion worth of food each year. Just focusing on hospitality, that’s a $100bn market opportunity. Winnow has developed a highly effective preventative solution, has the right management team and has proven its ability to deliver value for its rapidly growing blue-chip client base. We are looking forward to working closely with Winnow’s management to support the delivery of its continued international roll out.”

More information about Winnow and its Waste Monitor app on Winnow’s website.

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