The food sector currently contributes 26 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and is struggling to reduce this impact. However, due to the challenge of gauging the sustainability of the industry’s sprawling supply chain, this remains a herculean task.
Responding to the growing demand for food labelling services, UK-based food technology startup Foodsteps has raised $4.1 million in seed funding to allow businesses to calculate, reduce and label the environmental impact of their food from farm to fork.
The seed funding round, led by Octopus Ventures, will allow the company to improve its database through integrating more environmental impacts such as farm-level biodiversity and water use, and consolidating its market position. The other participants of the funding round include Metaplanet, Ascension, and the Conduit EIS Impact Fund.
Founded in 2021 by Cambridge University alumna Anya Doherty, the platform has developed an ‘impact database' holding data incorporating the carbon footprint, pollution, water use and land use of more than 1,000 ingredients. Traffic-light labels then give a rating from A-E and a QR code which consumers can scan to learn about a product's sustainability credentials, the company explained.
The food providers can upload recipes and view the sustainability impact of each ingredient. It can be used to monitor targets, develop new recipes and improve a menu or product’s sustainability.
The company currently works with the likes of food industry giants such as Pizza Express, Wagamama, Ask Italian and food delivery services allplants, Mindful Chef, and caterers at Kew Gardens to calculate, label to reduce their environmental footprint.
Anya Doherty, CEO and founder of Foodsteps said: “Following calls to reach net zero, the food sector is increasingly putting sustainability at the heart of decision making. But many bigger businesses are still struggling to assess and reduce their environmental impact at scale, which is slowing progress and leading to inaction. We hope our fundraising will accelerate the journey to net zero, by showing there really is an easy way for companies to slash their emissions and demonstrate their commitment to sustainability.”
Lucy Clarke, investor at Octopus Ventures added: “It is an immensely difficult challenge for businesses to understand in detail the impact of their food supply chains from farm to fork. Foodsteps can make this possible in days and scalable too.”