FARMERSVILLE, CALIF. — The Ugly Co., a producer of upcycled dried fruit snacks, has raised $9 million in Series A funding. The company will use the funds to expand processing capacity and accelerate nationwide growth.
Founded in 2018, The Ugly Co. converts irregular or surplus produce into single-ingredient snacks that are sold in retailers across the country, including Sprouts Farmers Market, Whole Foods Market and Hy-Vee stores. The brand is set to appear on shelves at Kroger banners including Ralph’s, Fred Meyer, QFC, King Soopers and Fry’s later this year. Offerings include cherries, peaches, white nectarines, apricots and kiwis.
Last year, the company upcycled more than 2.17 million lbs of imperfect fruit and expects to salvage 3 million lbs this year.
“The millions of pounds of fruit that gets thrown away every day in Central California is heartbreaking," said Ben Moore, founder and chief executive officer of The Ugly Co. “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.”
The funding round was led by Sun Valley Packing, a fruit grower and distributor, and Value Creation Strategies. Additional investors include musician Justin Timberlake and Valley Ag Capital Holdings.“Ben and his family have farmed next door to us for generations,” said Casey Jones, CEO of Sun Valley Packing, Reedley, Calif. “I didn’t know Ben personally until he was hauling fruit from our packing shed. 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.”