FoA 347: Upcycled Fruit with Ben Moore of The Ugly Company

Try Acres: https://www.acres.co/

The Ugly Company: https://www.theugly.company/

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Today's episode features Ben Moore, founder of The Ugly Company, an upcycled dried fruit snack company. Ben is a 4th generation California farmer tackling the complex problem of food waste. Through Ugly Fruit, Ben is on a mission to achieve zero waste at farms by upcycling unmarketable fruit directly from farms to consumers.  

Ben had an epiphany while in his tractor plowing culled fruit. Ben reasoned that much of this fruit is perfectly good to eat and a shame being dumped. So, he did some research on ways to bring stone fruit to use as a value-added product.

It’s another way for consumers to minimize food waste – some of the listeners may have heard of grocery ecommerce companies like Misfit Market and Imperfect Foods where you can purchase slightly off-spec food. The two main problems with food waste is food insecurity – getting nutritious foods transported to those in need that is shelf stable and able to withstand varying storage conditions, and second, emissions problems – the EPA estimates food that is dumped contributes 170 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.

In order to solve the problem the way Ben envisions he is tackling the challenge of operational scale. We learn that stickers on fruit are an operational nightmare and that current dehydrator operators don’t have the capacity or automation to make the business economically feasible. So Ben is building it himself.  

It’s a single ingredient snack with no added sugars or preservatives which is a huge differentiator from a lot of other dried fruit snacks and trail mixes that contain sugar and other additives.

About the Podcast

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Future of Agriculture
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About your host

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Tim Hammerich

I share stories about agriculture, agtech, and agribusiness on podcasts and radio.