The deal by the venture capital firm led by Arlene Dickinson follows hot on the heels of an equity investment in organic sparkling company Sapsucker

District Ventures Capital has announced an equity investment of C$5 million in Outcast Foods, an innovative food technology company that diverts food waste from landfills and turns discarded fruits and vegetables into clean, nutrient-dense, sustainable food products.

“We are pleased to support a company that not only addresses the problems of food waste but is creating a future world rooted in sustainable food production,” said Arlene Dickinson, general partner at District Ventures Capital. “We’re excited to partner with Outcast with our investment as they prepare to scale their sustainable plant-based technology.”

BDC Capital also participated in the financing round and matched the $5 million investment for a combined total of $10 million.

Dr Darren Burke and former NHL forward, TJ Galiardi founded Outcast Foods in 2017 to tackle the growing global issue surrounding food waste in both a unique and sustainable way.

Utilising rejected, surplus, or past-date fruits and vegetables from local farms, food processors and grocers, Outcast’s innovative food upcycling technology creates high-quality products.

“We saw the giant issue of food waste as an opportunity to create a new category in the growing supplement industry. All we needed to do was figure out how to transform waste stream food into high purity, nutrient-dense, long shelf-life natural health products,” said Burke.

The company argues that its business has created a win for everyone in the supply chain. “Retailers not only cut costs associated with hauling unsold produce away to the landfill, but there’s also a reduction in carbon footprint, and customers enjoy delicious and sustainable products,” said Galiardi. “We’re ready and excited to scale our operations with our new partners.”

Outcast Foods produces its own line of Plant-Strong, a range of upcycled protein powders and dietary supplements, in addition to providing its plant-based ingredients to a variety of industries including cosmetic, agriculture and pet food manufacturers.

Cheri Corbett, Director, Cleantech Practice, BDC Capital, said: “According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, nearly one-third of food globally is wasted or lost, contributing to higher greenhouse gas emissions. This is why creative entrepreneurs like Burke and TJ Galiardi who are having such a positive environmental impact are so important.”

Outcast currently partners with multiple grocers, manufacturers, and farmers across Canada who supply an average of one million pounds of daily food waste.

Regarded as ‘first-to-market’ in the upcycled food category, the company currently operates from its facility in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, with plans to scale significantly in 2021.

Outcast Foods has raised C$5 million in angel and seed funding. Investors include The Cosine Group, a private equity firm in Boston, with participation from David Hoffman of Oxford Frozen Foods, Torey Krug from the Boston Bruins, and Stu Rath.

District Ventures Capital is a venture capital fund investing in innovative companies in the food and beverage and health and wellness sectors.

Led by general partner Arlene Dickinson, District Ventures focuses on the CPG space and brings capital, marketing support, programming, and commercialisation as support to the companies it invests in.

The investment in Outcast Foods follows hot on the heels of an equity investment in Sapsucker, an organic sparkling tree water company in Canada. Sapsucker produces plant-based, sustainably harvested beverages from Canadian maple trees.

Last year, District Ventures invested in Queen Street Bakery, a Canadian gluten-free food start-up.

The fund has also teamed up with to Nielsen Canada in a partnership that gives District Ventures access to retail data to support its investment decisions.

Date published: 26 February 2021

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