Ugly Veggies in Tyson’s Flashfoodbox Help Detroit Tackle Food Waste

by | May 4, 2018

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Tyson Foods has launched an effort that the company says invites the public to get involved in “tackling the problem of food waste.” The company is selling what it calls “boxes of high quality surplus food” through a direct to consumer offering dubbed flashfoodbox.

The offering was launched in the Detroit metro area on Earth Day. Each flashfoodbox contains about 15 pounds of surplus food including fruits, vegetables and protein, priced at about $45 per box. Producers, farmers and growers will provide the rescued fruits and vegetables – that is, products that grocers won’t sell for reasons such as an unpleasant or misshapen appearance – to be sold for the flashfoodbox. Tyson Innovation Lab, a special product development team at Tyson Foods, worked with Flashfood to develop the product.

The boxes can be ordered online or through the Flashfood app available through most online app stores and are delivered directly to a customer’s home. By using surplus food as the basis for the flashfoodbox, these products are being made available to consumers at a significantly lower price point than they would pay at food retailers, according to Tyson Foods.

One goal of the offering, the companies say, is to educate people on the facts about food waste. “Nearly one-third of all food produced in America ends up as waste, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations,” says Josh Domingues, founder and CEO of Flashfoods.

The companies chose Detroit because the city has demonstrated a commitment to revitalization. “Detroit has historically been a city that many have viewed as having a lack of opportunity,” Domingues says. “But over the last few years, there’s been a vibrant resurgence and we want to be part of that fabric as we scale the flashfoodbox into the US.” The companies are also partnering with Detroit-based nonprofit Forgotten Harvest, an organization that fights food waste and food insecurity.


The Speedy Development of a Product

Tyson Foods launched the Tyson Innovation Lab as a way to drive innovation and increase speed-to-market for new products. In six months, the team must design a product that is market launch ready – a time schedule that is 80% faster than the company’s traditional approaches. While food companies often have to decide between “speed or scale,” the company’s Innovation Lab is meant to address both at the same time.


Sustainability Initiatives Drive Profits

Last fall, Tyson announced that sustainability would play a key role in the company’s strategy as it moved into fiscal 2018; the company expects sustainability will be one element that will help the company reach an expected sales growth of about 6% this year. The company has already engaged in major sustainability efforts, including one that is expected to help improve the traceability of the global food supply chain.

Tom Hayes, the company’s president and CEO, says the company’s sustainability improvements will lead to growth in volume, sales, and profits.

Partners Mentioned Above


Forgotten Harvest

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