How saving food with every bite can shape our world for the better.
Episode 09 Summary
Being awestruck in high school by the enormous amount of perfectly good food going to waste and learning about the newly formed Food Recovery Network, Wes Hopkins immediately volunteered to help. His experience and passion eventually led him to an internship with a new startup company founded by Ben Simon called Hungry Harvest. From the early days of knocking on doors trying to sell boxes of “ugly fruits and veggies” to now being a significant part of the fast-growing national company Imperfect Foods, Wes has truly charted an unconventional path to his position as Chief of Staff with a company’s whose mission is to “eliminate food waste and build a better food system for everyone”. In this episode, we learn about what it takes to get a company like Imperfect Foods started, and what happens when you encounter growing pains along the way. One major key to success seems to be the importance of keeping your eye on the mission at all times!
(On starting out selling door to door) Sometimes it would take 90 seconds and they'd be ready to buy. Other times we'd come in and sit down and take 20 minutes. We talk all about the food system and explain how this is possible.
Selling something in person, not over digital marketing or any type of automated process, just actually talking to someone one-on-one and convincing them to buy it, there's no better way to get to know a business model and to really reinforce your passion for something.
Right when I finished my sophomore year, it was kind of out of the blue, I got a text from Ben Simon saying, Hey, we just raised our series A round and I'm looking for an assistant. You should drop out of school and start working for me.
Even in our big cities, in Chicago, for example, there are tons and tons of households that have no means of getting fresh fruit and vegetables and the repercussions of that are huge and it's not fair. So that's something that we think we're able to address with our delivery model and our price point to be able to really increase the food security in the US.
About our Guest
Wesley Hopkins is Chief of Staff at Imperfect Foods, a venture-backed startup that sources cosmetically imperfect and surplus foods directly from producers and delivers it straight to consumers' homes across the U.S. Approximately 20% of fruits and vegetables in the U.S. never leave the farm just because they look a little different.
Wesley has been involved in food waste entrepreneurship since he was 16. After a chance meeting with a University of Maryland student/serial social entrepreneur, he committed his career to eliminating food waste. Since then, he's spent the past 7 years balancing his education with his passion of growing startups dedicated to "ugly" and surplus food recovery. In 2017 he dropped out of his undergrad studies at UC Berkeley to work full-time at Imperfect, which has since been through 3 rounds of funding, grown from 40 employees to 1500, and expanded from California to 35 cities across the country. In his free time he enjoys open water swimming and binge-reading Wikipedia articles.
Contact Wes at firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow him on Instagram @wes.hops
Connect with him on LinkedIn
About Imperfect Foods
Imperfect Foods was founded in 2015 with a mission to eliminate food waste and build a better food system for everyone. We offer imperfect (yet delicious) produce, affordable pantry items, and quality eggs and dairy. We deliver them conveniently to our customers’ doorsteps and pride ourselves on offering up to a 30% discount compared to grocery store prices. Our customers can get the healthy, seasonal produce they want alongside the grocery staples they rely on, without having to compromise their budget or values. We’re proving that doing the right thing for the planet doesn’t have to cost more, and that shopping for quality ingredients can support the people and resources that it takes to grow our favorite foods.
Learn more at www.imperfectfoods.com
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Mentioned in the Episode
Here are links to companies and organizations that were mentioned, we invite you to visit them.
Thanks to our Sponsors and Production Team:
NETZRO, SBC - www.netzro.us
Upcycled Food Association - www.upcycledfood.org
Produced by Hi-Fly'n Productions www.hiflyn.com
Executive Producer | Host: Kevin May
Associate Producer: Amy Gilbert
Creative Development: Sue Marshall