Food Cowboy launches No Waste Promise Alliance and Food Waste Innovation Fund to finance development of post-food waste economy
Program will allow consumers to invest $75 million a year in innovative charities and waste-reducing start-ups through their food purchases
Bethesda, Md. — FOOD COWBOY announced today the launch of the No Waste Promise Alliance and the Food Waste Innovation Fund, which together will invest up to $75 million a year in public and private sector solutions to food waste.
Food Cowboy uses mobile technology to help food companies route surplus and unsaleable inventory to charities and organic waste to composters. The USDA has called it “the food industry’s leading technology solution to supply chain waste.”
“The scale of the food waste problem in America is enormous,” said Food Cowboy co-founder Barbara Cohen, a nutrition scientist and hunger expert who helped coin the term “food insecurity.” “Meaningful change won’t happen until charities have the right tools and we develop more market-based solutions.”
Food Cowboy’s strategy for financing the Food Waste Investment Fund turns on taxes:
Congress recently granted the food industry up to $6 billion in bonus tax deductions as an incentive to donate more food. But they largely go unused because food banks lack the capacity to accept more than a fraction of the inventory that businesses need to dispose of each day.
Beginning this fall, when companies use Food Cowboy to donate inventory they will pay a small commission on the tax benefits for which they qualify. Two-thirds of the fee – up to $50 million a year – will go to Food Cowboy Foundation to help food banks cover the costs of recovering food, adding capacity and developing new service models, such as L.A. Kitchen, which DC Central Kitchen founder Robert Egger launched in 2014, and Daily Table, launched last year by former Trader Joe’s CEO Doug Rauch.
Both Egger and Rauch serve on the board of Food Cowboy Foundation, along with retired Marine Corps general Mike Mulqueen, who led Chicago’s food bank for 15 years. “Our plan is to invest $50 million a year to transform the food bank sector,” said Food Cowboy co-founder Roger Gordon, who has an extensive nonprofit background himself. “With experience like this on our board, we know we’ll get the job done right.”
The remaining fees – up to $25 million a year – will be invested in new waste-reducing businesses and technologies, such as companies that deliver “ugly” fruits and vegetables directly to consumers and small scale anaerobic digesters that turn food waste into cooking gas.
“We know so many creative people who are working on real solutions to hunger and waste – they are our heroes.” said Steven Finn, Managing Director of ResponsEcology and the chair of Food Cowboy Foundation’s Leadership Circle. “But it can cost millions of dollars to bring a product or service to market. Before, we only had the ideas and the desire, but now we have the means as well.”
Consumers can “invest” in the Food Waste Innovation Fund by supporting members of the No Waste Promise Alliance and looking for the Food Cowboy logo wherever they buy food.
For more information contact Roger Gordon or Barbara Cohen
[email protected] / (800) 673-6916 FoodCowboy.com