Why is one-fourth of all edible produce being wasted on farms in the U.S.?
One-fourth of all edible produce is wasted on farms in the U.S. because of a disaggregated supply chain that has historically been offline. For a perishable product like produce, this means that some produce, especially surplus and imperfect, cannot find ways to market in a timely enough manner. Full Harvest is working to solve this problem with the first online business-to-business (B2B) marketplace for all produce, including surplus and imperfect, connecting farmers to commercial produce buyers.
What types of produce does Full Harvest sell?
Although Full Harvest began a focus on selling only surplus and imperfect produce, we’ve recently expanded our marketplace offering to now include all USDA Grade 1 produce, not just surplus. Below is a detailed overview of the types of produce that we sell on our marketplace.
USDA #1 Grade produce is the highest quality of produce according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). It is generally considered to be of premium quality, with few to no defects in appearance, size, and shape. This produce is primarily used for retail and foodservice for direct consumer consumption.
USDA #1 Surplus
USDA’s #1 Grade Surplus is USDA #1 Grade but considered ‘Surplus’ when a grower cannot find a buyer through their normal channels because they either grew or harvested too much of a product or experienced a loss in demand.
#2 Grade (otherwise known as Imperfect, Off-grade or Ugly produce)
#2 Grade produce has wider cosmetic tolerances than USDA #1 Grade, but is still perfectly edible, great quality and delicious. This produce can be sold into value-add food production that processes the produce in some way, removing the need for cosmetic perfection. However, many commodities do not have robust secondary markets, so we help suppliers establish markets for this quality, “imperfect” produce. Some specific #2 Grade specifications you may see include Juicer, Peeler, and Commercial grades. Buying this produce grade helps increase revenue to farmers and a portion of it helps to reduce food waste.
Full Harvest Innovative Grade
Full Harvest's Innovative Grade is #2 Grade produce that Full Harvest has developed unique specifications in partnership with our farmers. We innovate with our growers to capture perfectly edible produce that is typically wasted during harvest - simply because it is not part of a traditional retailer USDA #1 and #2 specification. Our Innovative Grades are unique to our marketplace, are among our most sustainable offerings, and represent the largest category within our Verified Rescued Produce® offerings (see Verified RescuedTM definition below). Please review these specifications closely in the marketplace to ensure the product will meet your production needs.
What is Full Harvest and what do they do?
Full Harvest is solving the $2.6 trillion food waste problem through technology and innovation. We are the only business-to-business online marketplace connecting farmers with commercial produce buyers to purchase produce of all grades, including an expertise on surplus and off-grade produce. Our mission is to create a world with 100% ‘full harvests’ in order to reduce climate change and deliver incremental revenue to farmers. Additionally, through our Innovation Services, we partner with brands on their efforts to create new sustainable CPG products to meet consumer demand for sustainable products. A win-win-win for food companies, farmers, and the planet. Full Harvest is recognized as a World Economic Forum Tech Pioneer, the top 2020 Fast Company World Changing Idea in Food, and a Forbes Most Innovative Agtech Startup. Learn more at www.fullharvest.com.
What is USDA Grade 1 produce?
USDA Grade 1 produce is the highest quality of produce according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). It is generally considered to be of premium quality, with few to no defects in appearance, size, and shape.
Why is Full Harvest expanding to include USDA Grade 1 produce?
Full Harvest is expanding to include USDA Grade 1 produce to solve the food waste problem faster. By creating a one-stop-shop for our buyers and suppliers to buy and sell all of their produce on Full Harvest, in addition to surplus and off-grade, our customers will have even more market transparency and insights in order to make more informed planning and purchasing decisions with less waste. As a direct-from-farm solution and local search capabilities, we also empower our users to reduce their carbon footprint associated with transporting produce.
What does Full Harvest's expansion mean for produce growers?
Full Harvest's expansion means that growers will be able to reach a larger audience and sell all of their produce on the Full Harvest marketplace. This will help them to save even more time and make even more money, while we continue to support selling your excess produce.
What does Full Harvest's expansion mean for produce buyers?
Full Harvest's expansion means that buyers will have access to all of their produce needs with a wider variety of high-quality produce, including all USDA Grade 1 produce, on the company's marketplace. This can help them to save even more time and money, while we continue to support more sustainable purchasing.
How does Full Harvest's marketplace work?
A: Full Harvest's marketplace connects growers with commercial produce buyers to purchase all grades of produce direct-from-farm on spot, program, or contract terms. Sign up here to get started.
What is Verified Rescued produce®?
Verified Rescued Produce® is defined by Full Harvest as produce or its by-product that was grown for human consumption but is determined that it will go to waste at the time of evaluation.
While all Full Harvest produce either falls into surplus or imperfect and is being sold in service of reducing food waste, only some of it can be Verified RescuedTM - meaning that it can be verified that it would have gone to waste at the time of evaluation. Any category of Full Harvest produce above can qualify as Verified RescuedTM if it meets our strict verification requirements at the time of evaluation during our auditing process. When verified by a Full Harvest audit, the produce is officially considered “rescued”, meaning that it reduces food waste, and therefore qualifies for environmental benefits (Water savings and CO2 emissions avoidance).
Why isn't surplus or imperfect produce always considered verified rescuedtm?
While all Full Harvest produce is in service of reducing food waste and helping farmers increase revenues, only some of it can be verified that all of the order definitively would have been wasted if not for a purchase through Full Harvest. In order to truly verify whether or not produce is rescued, it requires a robust evaluation of the type of produce, market conditions and harvest conditions. Some examples as to why there may be some cases where we cannot verify that all of the purchase would have gone to waste are:
- There are a few commodities that have more mature off-grade markets such as apples, carrots, berries, tomatoes, oranges and potatoes as they are used in processed products such as apple sauce and orange juice. In the case where a commodity has some existing off-grade markets, a produce order may not be able to be Verified RescuedTM if, for example, we believe at the time of evaluation that another buyer could purchase that same order for another use.
- For #2 grade commodities, we work with farmers and buyers to widen the specification to include more cosmetic imperfections, so a portion of the produce would potentially have gone to waste if not for a wider spec; however, the full order may not be able to be Verified RescuedTM if at the time of our proprietary auditing process we believe that another buyer could have potentially purchased the produce.
- On the surplus side, a farmer could possibly find a buyer outside of their traditional network of buyers last minute on their own. In this case, our auditing process looks at the farmers’ unique situation and evaluates the likelihood of a sale against the market conditions. We can verify it as Verified RescuedTM if we believe that the surplus would not otherwise have had a buyer based on our evaluation.
- For Full Harvest Innovative Grade produce, we worked directly with growers to find waste streams of edible produce, so we know that the produce would have definitively gone to waste otherwise. This is our largest category for Verified RescuedTM produce with only a couple minor exceptions due market shifts that would deem it otherwise.
What is imperfect produce and how does it lead to waste?
Imperfect or “ugly” produce does not meet strict retail aesthetic standards simply because, for example, it is discolored or misshapen. Only the produce or parts of the produce that meet strict specifications are harvested and the remainder is sometimes sold as off-grade, but is often left to rot. Only a small portion is sold to animal feed or donated.
What is surplus produce and how does it lead to waste?
Surplus produce is a result of overproduction, lack of selling opportunities or loss in demand. Forecasting is difficult for both the supply and demand side, so, for example, if produce is contract grown in advance, and demand shifts before or after harvesting, there can be a lot of surplus product available with no home. Without a buyer, farmers are forced to leave the produce to rot on their farms or if it has already been harvested, send it to the landfill.
Can surplus or imperfect produce have farmer and environmental benefits even if it’s not Verified RescuedTM?
There are many times when we know that a purchase has resulted in some degree of food waste avoidance but it is very difficult to calculate the exact amount with certainty and therefore difficult to calculate the exact impact. For example, there are many times when we work with growers to increase tolerances for a specific type of produce, allowing for a greater harvest of produce that would have otherwise been left to rot in the field. In this scenario, we have no way of knowing which of the produce was picked because of the widened specification, but we know that there was definitely some food waste avoidance. We are currently working with academia and the non-profit community to work on a methodology to capture the impact benefit for these more complex scenarios.
What are the environmental benefits for Verified Rescued Produce®?
As Verified RescuedTM equates to full food waste avoidance, we estimate that every one million pounds of Full Harvest Verified Rescued Produce® results in approximately 60 millions gallons of water saved and 350k kg of CO2 emissions avoided based on reported food waste reduction metrics. It is important to note that these calculations are generalized and do not account for farm and geography specific variations in water savings and CO2 avoidance. A detailed water and CO2 lifecycle analysis is recommended for understanding exact environmental benefits.
What is Full Harvest’s audit and verification process?
Full Harvest’s proprietary verification process evaluates three key factors to determine if produce is rescued: type of produce, market conditions and harvest conditions. For more information, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org .