Sep 24, 2020
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Former Co-CEO Of Whole Foods Becomes A FoodMaven

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Walter Robb Whole Foods former co-CEO has joined up with Patrick Bultema CEO and co-founder of the Colorado Springs startup FoodMaven to cope with the growing food waste problem within the U. S. : sell it. Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb speaks in the course of the 2013 Dreamforce conference in San Francisco


[+] Robb needless to say brings quite a few experience and knowledge about food to the company. He has joined FoodMaven s board and is what Bultema names as a major investor. Apart from his retail experience and investment Robb also brings decades of foodservice experience from Whole Foods prepared foods and Grocerant offerings which if reported separately by it’d make Whole Foods among the nation s largest foodservice operators according to one Whole Foods buyer who participated in a public retailer roundtable on the Fancy Food Show in June of 2017


His expertise will come in useful as FoodMaven wants the industry to reclaim about $200 billion of what they both told me in a phone interview last month is perfectly good foods that are lost to an inefficient 1950s style food system and sell it at a 50% discount to restaurants and other foodservice operators


They are saying that suppliers receive revenue that otherwise will be lost (they receive about 25% of the foods normal value) and restaurants can lift their profits; especially important as operators face tighter margins on the way with the January 2018 increases in minimum wage rates in 18 states and 20 cities and counties including New York California and Colorado


FoodMaven s cut is according to the corporate on a blended average about 50% of the sale making this venture one with huge potential. To place the potential revenue opportunity in perspective today food is a $1. 2 trillion market and according to the Natural Resources Defense Council as much as 40% is wasted; which equates to about $480 billion


FoodMaven says almost half that is good quality and merely over-supplied – somewhere over $200 billion in high-quality first-rate foods that are being discarded. The examples they cite include retailers and distributors that could have ordered medium sized potatoes and received large ones instead or chickens that were delivered and located to be lighter in weight


Foods that are just ugly that traditional retailers don t desire to put on their shelves. Fresh foods from companies which have a limited shelf life and had orders placed by retailers that were cancelled. Bultema and Robb also point out that smaller local suppliers particularly have a difficult time getting into the mainstream food system which has attracted those producers to sell their goods directly on FoodMaven and bypass traditional distributors


Any food that is unsold by FoodMaven is donated to food banks and hunger relief groups. The corporate s strategy they told me is best described as a three-pronged approach. First go get the product that is out of the system. Then use applied data to get efficiencies to store and deliver those foods (Bultema has a high tech background recently serving because the Selig Chair of Innovation and Executive Director of the Innovation Institute at The Colorado College CEO of Ortsbo an internet software begin and as advisor to scores of other software startups)


Lastly they are saying work in a conscious manner that is dependent upon good stewardship; and people three principles produces a win-win for all. Patrick Bultema FoodMaven Co-founder & CEO Photo by Mark Reis PHOTO BY MARK REIS SEPTEMBER 2017 PROMOTED UNICEF USA BRANDVOICE | Paid Program
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Manuel Pastor And Amelia Ransom Here s the way it works. On their website there are two portals one for sellers and one for buyers. Their portal is ready to sort by the quantity on stock as well as by best by dates in ten categories which includes nearly every category in a supermarket from meats and seafood to oils to canned foods beverages and ready foods


Each product listing includes ingredients whether it is fresh or frozen and health attributes as well as a photograph of the particular product. I discovered ten one-pound packages of Local Grass Fed Grass Finished Wagyu/Angus Cross Ground Beef for $62. 50 that normally sells for $81. 25 20 one-pound packages of frozen Wild Shrimp for $82 (regular price $117


14) 18 Rabbits Organic Cherry Chia & Vanilla Granola six 11 ounce packages for $8 (regular price $28. 00) and Vitamin Water Zero Go-Go Mixed Berries at $10. 56 (regular price $21. 12) for a case of 24-20 ounce bottles. Any restaurant chef will inform you that their job and skill is to make something fabulous from whatever ingredients they’ve on hand


One only has to work out one episode of Iron Chef to prove the point. And what FoodMaven might do exactly for the restaurants they serve is to be the tool to bring back the genuine blue-plate daily special where the chef might cook up a limited amount of a certain dish based on what they could find on the portal and truly offer a discount; as was the practice started back within the 1920s


My observation is that recently the specials in most restaurants are literally costlier than what typically is listed on the menu; this might force a refreshing change. The win-win they describe will only become a reality if they’ve enough of a supply of the products that these restaurants want and need


Certainly when it comes to beef chicken seafood and other meats and convey they seem to supply great discounts on the staples that restaurants need. Apart from the Vitamin Water already mentioned I discovered other products that perhaps hard for a restaurant to use like 6-ounce packages of Allouette Cucumber Ranch Cheese Dip or Pamela s Oat Up 2 Gluten Free Snack Bars or 6-ounce boxes of Enjoy Life Soft Baked Mini Snickerdoodle cookies


FoodMaven currently operates only in a single market in Colorado has about $1 million of inventory and has plans to grow regionally through the US; their goal is to arrive $1 billion in sales over the subsequent 5-10 years

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