While the food industry is the largest in the world, it is also one of the least efficient. According to the BCG, 1.6 billion tons of $ 1.2 trillion worth of food is wasted on food every year, and these numbers are only expected to increase.
A number of players have tried to solve their own part of the problem, and one such solution is Crisp. The company, which received $ 14 million in Series A funds from FirstMark Capital last year, is now going live with its platform (which is in beta).
Crisp aims to solve the global problem of food waste through forecasting demand. Founder and CEO Are Traasdahl, a serial founder, believes that a lack of communication and data flow between the many actors in the supply chain is a major cause of all this waste, much of which happens long before the food reaches the consumer.
For many of these actors, forecasting demand is nowhere near perfect. From grocery brands to distributors to grocery stores, the problem is usually solved by looking at a table of last year's sales for hours to determine the signals that are critical to the sales performance of these or those SKUs.
And then there was crisp.
Integrated into almost every ERP software in a company, Crisp collects historical data from these food brands and combines this data with signals from other demand drivers such as seasonality, holidays, price sensitivity and other price information, marketing campaigns, competitive environment and weather affect.
Using these data points and historical sales data, Crisp believes that next day, week, month, or year demand can be represented much more accurately.
However, Crisp isn't just for grocery brands like Nounós Creamery, a Crisp customer who has seen 80 percent less inventory waste since moving to the platform. Crisp serves almost every player in the food supply chain, from retailers to retailers and brands to brokers.
And the more customers it gets, the better it can predict demand at a specific level. For example, the demand forecast for crisp offers for a particular grocery store, based on external data, obviously becomes much better once the grocery store is a customer on the platform.
Traasdahl initially feared that its customers would be reluctant to share this type of sensitive sales data, and that industry players may seek to share this data on a platform that aggregates all data, including their competitors. It turns out that the food industry is more of a "better together" mentality.
"Other industries are not so interdependent," said Traasdahl. “If I'm a dairy and need to buy blueberries for my yogurt, I may have five different suppliers for these blueberries. And if they are not delivered on the right day, Costco yells at me for being late with the yogurt. Everyone in the supply chain is somewhat interdependent. "
For this reason, it was easier than expected to win customers for the platform. The prospect of a platform for collaborative demand forecasting that delivers signals from across the industry will be more accurate than the forecast for subdued demand from a single vendor or brand.
During the beta program, launched in October, Crisp brought more than 30 companies to the platform, including Gilberts Craft Sausages, SunFed Perfect Produce, Nounós Creamery, Hofseth, REMA and Superior Farms.