Danish upcycled waste foodtech startup Reduced has bagged €2.9 million in its latest funding round. Led by Vækstfonden and VÅR Ventures, participation was noted from existing investors Rockstart, Pollen Capital and multiple business angels. Funding will be used to invest in cutting-edge technology and expansion of existing production facilities, alongside significant team build-out.
Reduced is engaged in the development and production of ingredients, flavour enhancers and finished food products, using food industry side streams and excess produce as core building blocks. The startup aims to make a meaningful inroad into food waste being negated in Denmark.
Funding future food movements
Reduced is a Rockstart portfolio company, having secured early-stage backing from the Amsterdam-based global accelerator. The fund supports startups that are looking to promote regenerative and sustainable food solutions, making Reduced a natural fit.
Vækstfonden leading Reduced’s latest funding round demonstrates wider acknowledgement that the startup is on the right path with its innovations. The Danish state investment fund identifies and supports companies that are considered promising. To date, it has backed more than 9,200 operations.
“We are excited to invest in Reduced and support their efforts in producing sustainable, organic and tasty food products from upcycled ingredients. We are looking forward to the journey ahead along with the Reduced team and the investor syndicate,” Eva Buciek Foss, Investment Manager at Vækstfonden said in a statement.
Scaling up to pull back on food waste
Reduced takes surplus produce and turns it into viable ingredients that enhance food products. The startup focuses on umami notes at present, which are sought after for plant-based meats. All ingredients are organic and additive-free, making them suitable for clean label companies, alongside conventional alt-protein manufacturers. Products are developed using fermentation, which minimises production time and increases the company’s sustainability credentials.
“We have now built our production facility in Copenhagen and finalised new production technology for the creation of flavour enhancers from upcycled ingredients. This round will allow us to increase production with more bioreactors, hire great talent, expand distribution and go deep into the plant-based market,” Emil Munck, co-founder of Reduced said in a statement. “We are excited to welcome new investors, Vækstfonden and VÅR ventures on board and see our existing investors, Rockstart, Pollen Capital, and our business angels doing follow-up investments. This shows great trust in the company and in our mission to reduce food waste through taste.”
The global uprising against food waste
While Reduced looks to repurpose food waste into useful products, the issue is being tackled in a myriad of ways by other startups. LA-based PurePlus is tackling a similar approach to Reduced, by using surplus produce, but creates ‘climate candy’ as a finished product. Its Faves brand creates sustainable and vegan alternatives to Starburst, which contain one serving of fruits and vegetables in every pack.
Looking to prevent food waste before it is created, Hong Kong’s KIN just announced a successful $3.77 million funding round for its AI-led food platform. The startup seeks to use data collected via its app to only source ingredients for dishes that are popular and regularly ordered by the vertical populations it serves. In each location, a kitchen will be present, making dishes developed by restaurants and chefs, using locally-sourced ingredients and delivered on foot. By removing options that are infrequently selected, KIN hopes to make diners more aware of and connected to their food, while reducing food waste associated with conventional food delivery services.
New research has identified that making food waste socially unacceptable could be a key driver to limiting global warming. A recent study claims that shifting societal norms and making food waste a distasteful issue will encourage more people to align with conscious efforts to minimise waste, which in turn will impact the environment positively.
All photos by Reduced.