Milwaukee-based Agricycle Global has launched a new ingredients business on the heels of a $2.4 million funding round led by Wisconsin-based MaSa Partners and CSA Partners, the startup recently announced. Agricycle launched in 2017 with a simple concept – teach farmers in Jamaica how to use solar-powered dehydrators to turn surplus tropical fruits into dried fruits that are packaged, marketed and sold in the U.S. The company provides farmers and cooperatives with dehydrators and purchases their dried fruit in exchange. Agricycle then sells its dried fruit as snacks under the brand Jali Fruit Co. and fruit-based charcoal used for grilling under the brand Tropical Ignition. The startup’s supply chain has since grown to include about 35,000 farmers and more than 7,000 women-led cooperatives in east and west Africa and in the Caribbean, according to the company. Agricycle is now launching “Field Better Ingredients,” a new business that leverages its vertically integrated supply chain to provide consumer packaged goods manufacturers with more than 150 common and specialty ingredients, said Josha Shefner, Agricycle founder and CEO. What Shefner discovered is Agricycle’s network of farmers produce a far greater amount of ingredients than what it uses for its Jali Fruit Co. and Tropical Ignition brands. By leveraging its supply chain, Agricycle can sell these ingredients to CPG manufacturers while diversifying a farmer’s source of income. With Field Better Ingredients, Agricycle is transitioning to more of a B2B company with a focus on CPG manufacturers with annual revenues of more than $10 million, he said. “It became a natural evolution of what we’re doing and it has become our focus,” Shefner said. “We’re primarily an ingredient supply company for upcycled and traceable ingredients.” Although Agricycle’s model has shifted, its mission of transforming waste into opportunity remains the same, Shefner said.
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