Meet the Founder: Ben Moore, The Ugly Co.
Q: For those who don’t know, tell us a little about yourself and The Ugly Co.
BM: Hello! I’m Ugly. My name is Ben Moore, I’m the founder of The Ugly Co. I’m a 4th generation farmer from Kingsburg, CA. We are on a mission to end food waste at farms. The Ugly Co. upcycles ugly fruit that would normally be tossed out simply because it’s ugly and unmarketable. Everyday, between 2–4 million pounds of edible fruit is wasted within a 15-mile radius of Ugly HQ in Kingsburg during fruit harvesting season.
Q: What inspired you to create The Ugly Co.?
BM: During the summer of 2017, there were two hurricanes that hit the U.S. One in Houston and another in Puerto Rico. I read several news reports detailing the extreme lack of food and supplies available to help Puerto Ricans after the hurricane struck. At the time, I was truck driving for our family farm. My dad and I were also hauling for other farms in the area to help dispose of their ugly fruit. That summer I would help dump between 50–150 tons of fruit daily. After reading those news reports, I was struck by the disparity of abundance in my hometown, and the lack thereof in Puerto Rico. The light bulb moment happened. That summer I made a decision to help find a way to use ugly fruit to feed people, not landfills.
Q: With the holidays in full swing and the new year approaching, a common theme we’re talking about is self-improvement. Based on your inspiration to create the company, could you discuss how this specifically resonates with your brand, product, and overall mission?
BM: The holidays allow me to refocus on our company’s purpose that goes beyond ugly fruit. We strive to challenge the stigma that “ugly” means something bad, or in our case, inedible. We never judge a fruit by its cover and feel that mentality should spread beyond the “wonky” pieces of fruit that we rescue. We hope to inspire society to view everything through a kinder lense, and to value not just fruit, but people as well, based upon their inner beauty rather than their appearance.
Q: And how does The Ugly Co. support self-care?
BM: Self-care includes what we choose to put in our bodies. At The Ugly Co., we believe that fruit should be served naturally. Therefore our products are created with no added sugars, preservatives or artificial ingredients.
Q: One way to focus on self-improvement is by giving back to the community, can you talk more about how/if your company is doing this?
BM: At The Ugly Co., we have focused our contribution to the community through donating packages of fruit to school athletic programs, community 5k races and to our high school teachers and administrators. We also help Gleanings for The Hungry with logistics and IT support.
Q: What is something you hope FastAF users will gain from your product?
BM: My hope is that every person enjoys our upcycled dried fruit with the knowledge that their purchase is directly preventing up to 2.25lbs of food waste and helping create a more sustainable future. #eatugly