How This Good Unicorn Saved 225 Million Pounds Of Food From Going To Waste, All While Saving Customers 40% On Groceries

How This Good Unicorn Saved 225 Million Pounds Of Food From Going To Waste, All While Saving Customers 40% On Groceries

In the United States, nearly one third of what’s grown is never harvested because it doesn’t meet the superficial standards of a traditional grocery store.

Misfits Market provides suburban families and communities in food deserts, areas with little or no access to nutritional foods, sustainable groceries at 40% off traditional grocery prices. All while saving 225 million pounds of food and raising $500M in the company’s less than 3 years of existence.

Let’s dive into the deep end!

Diana Tsai: 225 million pounds of food saved – that’s incredible. The affordable part is really interesting here. How are you able to offer your customers 40% off the price of traditional grocery?

Abhi Ramesh: We work directly with farmers, distributors and producers to rescue organic produce and other grocery items that might otherwise go to waste. We’ve also expanded access to quality foods by delivering to customers in all zip codes, especially neighborhoods that DON’T have healthy, affordable grocery options nearby. And all this makes sustainability possible by tackling waste and environmental issues at the root of the problem – the supply chain – and reducing the steps it traditionally takes for food to go from farm to table.

Tsai: How do you measure success, and what have been your greatest successes to date?

Ramesh: Too much of food innovation has been focused on serving wealthy, urban consumers. In just three years, we’re already making a big impact. Since our launch in 2018, we’ve shipped boxes to more than 26,000 different zip codes in our quest to eradicate food deserts in America by 2025. In 2021, we’ve already shipped more than 11M apples, 3.5M avocados, and 700K pounds of blueberries to our customers.

Our food value supply chain has saved over 225 million pounds of food, 70% of which would have been lost revenue for farmers, producers, and consumer goods companies. We’ve created a new “rescue revenue stream” for farmers to the tune of more than $155 million in cost of goods to suppliers in less than three years.

Tsai: Wow. So that’s just in the last 3 years – that’s incredible. So much food saved already, and it’s amazing that you’re saving food AND saving customers money. What’s the biggest impact you can imagine making at scale?

Ramesh: We want to be able to deliver high-quality groceries to the doorstep of every household in the country. The challenge with grocery commerce as it’s evolved over the past decade is that every option is still a premium option that caters to, you know, wealthy urban customers that live in New York City, LA, San Francisco, and no one’s really built grocery delivery for everyone else in the country. Our goal, our end state is to become the affordable online grocery that doesn’t exist today for the rest of America.

Tsai: Amazing, I love the focus on underserved customers and affordability of fresh, quality produce and foods. What are the three most important things that you do as CEO to really lead this company? Like the highest leverage activities that you focus on?

Ramesh: First and foremost, and I’ve repeated this a billion times for our team internally, it’s making sure everyone has the same North Star. When companies grow extremely quickly, there’s a tendency for the company to split into different directions and get distracted, right? People forget their North Star.

So I’d say one of the biggest parts of my job today is making sure that across an organization of 1300 people…and we’ve gotten here in two and a half years…that every single one of these team members knows what our North Star is, can state it from memory. And that North Star is: Build the value-focused online grocery store of tomorrow, that does not exist today.

So alignment is the number one thing I’m focused on.

The number two thing I’m focused on is team. At the end of the day, I believe that companies are simply a combination of the vision and the team. And if we have the right vision, which is part one that I talked about, the second piece is having the right team. So I’m laser focused on making sure we’re hiring effectively, making sure we’re hiring people that have that same North Star in mind. And making sure that our teams are well resourced as well, as there are different areas of the business that need different TLC depending on on what we’re working on. And so resourcing and hiring is critical.

And then the third piece for me, I spend quite a bit of time these […]

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