The Ugly Co. accelerates nationwide growth
The Ugly Co., a farmer-led producer of upcycled dried fruit snacks, completed a $9 million Series A round of funding. The Ugly Co. will use the funds to expand its processing capacity to meet surging demand while accelerating expansion nationwide.
The funding round was led by Sun Valley Packing, a Reedley, CA-based fruit grower and distributor, and Texas-based Value Creation Strategies. Musician Justin Timberlake and Valley Ag Capital Holdings also participated in the round. Founder Ben Moore said he is proud that the majority of the company's funding was sourced locally from the San Joaquin Valley.
"The millions of pounds of fruit that gets thrown away every day in Central California is heart-breaking," said Moore, founder and CEO. "My dad is a farmer that raised me on the seat of a tractor, but it wasn't until I returned home from the Army, and was working as a truck driver, that I looked at this food waste from a new perspective. I felt called to action to ensure every piece of fruit grown in the valley is consumed by people, not landfills and livestock. This Series A funding is huge for us. We can finally address our infrastructure needs and expand sales nationally."
Rapidly growing, The Ugly Co.'s snacks are available in Sprouts nationwide, select REI, Whole Foods and HyVee stores, and will be available in Kroger Banners (Ralph's, Fred Meyer, QFC, King Soopers, and Fry's) later this year on the West Coast. Current dried fruit include cherries, peaches, white nectarines, apricots, and kiwis.
"Ben and his family have farmed next door to us for generations. I didn't know Ben personally until he was hauling fruit from our packing shed," said Casey Jones, CEO of Sun Valley Packing. "In between loads, Ben often sought me out for help with the new company he'd started. My family invested in The Ugly Co. because we share Ben's passion for solving food waste at our farm. We also know that Ben has the hand-in-the-dirt, altruistic work ethic that it takes to solve this enormous problem."
Last year The Ugly Company prevented more than 2.17 million pounds of food waste by upcycling. In 2023, it aims to turn 3 million pounds of perfectly good fruit, which otherwise would've been tossed or fed to cattle, into dried fruit.