More than 30 packaged vegetable products across six states are being yanked off shelves today after a potential listeria contamination was reported by one of the industry’s largest vegetable suppliers. The recall is the most recent example of how costly and wide spreading contaminations and recalls can be for CPG brands and retailers alike. But FoodLogiQ is betting that its offerings can help to mitigate these risks more efficiently than other systems on the market — and investors are taking note.
The Software as a Service (SaaS) provider announced last month that it received a $4.25 million investment from mission-based venture capital firm Renewal Funds. It follows an undisclosed 2015 investment in the provider of traceability, food safety and supply chain transparency software. In total, FoodLogiQ hopes to close $8 million in funding this year.
“Renewal’s focus on food and tech companies at the forefront of social and environmental change aligns perfectly with FoodLogiQ’s mission,” Dean Wiltse, CEO of FoodLogiQ told NOSH. “They have been advisors to great brands like Seventh Generation, Sweet Earth Foods, Goodness Garden and Farmhouse Culture and we look forward to this partnership and guidance as we grow.”
FoodLogiQ said it will use the funding to hire new employees across the sales, product development and engineering, customer success, and marketing departments. The capital will also be used to accelerate innovation and product development.
Renewal Funds senior associate Geordan Hankinson told NOSH that the firm, which typically invests between $1-5 million, was interested in the supply chain technology company for both its mission and rapid growth. Over the last two years, FoodLogiQ has added 40 new brands to its customer base, with new additions including the Hain Celestial Group and previously established clients including Whole Foods Market.
“It has a compelling mission to map the world’s food chain, make it safe and transparent, and help consumers make informed decisions about what they eat,” Hankinson said. “FoodLogiQ also bridges our interest in investing in companies that are making the food system more sustainable, and investing in companies that have scalable technology platforms with measurable environmental impacts.”
FoodLogiQ’s primary offering, FoodLogiQ Manage + Monitor, allows retailers and food producers to track suppliers’ audits, certificates and other legal documents and view them in real time. While other software providers may have similar solutions, FoodLogiQ focuses on differentiating itself through dashboards and the ability to work in custom programs and tracking. For example, natural products retailer Whole Foods Market uses FoodLogiQ to track its sustainability programs and food producer ratings.
“Our customer success and product development teams works very closely Whole Foods and our other customers so they are receiving the value required to be competitive and support their brand promises,” Wiltse said.
FoodLogiQ’s round comes at a time when the industry as a whole is embracing data software to improve its operational efficiencies. CPG giants like Walmart, Kroger, Nestle and Unilever are turning to block chain systems to improve their operations since many of the critical issues affecting food safety — such as cross-contamination, recalls and the spread of foodborne illness — are magnified by the current lack of access to information and traceability. Research firm Aite Group predicts that investment in new blockchain-enabled financial technologies will more than quintuple over the next four years, from an estimated $75 million in 2015 to $400 million by 2019.