Kroger awards winners of Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Innovation Challenge
The Kroger Co. Foundation announced the scholarship award recipients and entrepreneurial pitch competition results from its third annual Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Innovation Challenge in collaboration with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. The grants support TMCF's effort to adapt its successful innovation and entrepreneurship model to focus on food insecurity and food waste.
The Innovation Challenge is a three-day in-person business pitch competition where students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities 1890 land-grant institutions combine the adapted Innovation and Entrepreneurship model to solve Zero Hunger | Zero Waste challenges, using expertise from Kroger and The Kroger Co. Foundation.
"The Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Innovation Challenge creates an environment for students to think strategically about a seemingly intractable challenge — the intersection of hunger and food waste — and apply their ingenuity to help solve it," said Keith Dailey, Kroger's group vice president of corporate affairs and president of The Kroger Co. Foundation. "We are so proud to work with Thurgood Marshall College Fund and these talented student innovators to find new ways to eliminate hunger and waste in our communities."
There were 30 students and six teams participating, representing 11 HBCUs. Three teams pitched an innovative solution for how Kroger can use artificial intelligence to improve health and nutrition in underserved communities through increased food access. The remaining three teams addressed how Kroger can use technology to reduce food waste and make meaningful impact toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions in supply chain and operations. The company awarded $45,750 in scholarships.
The Innovation Challenge is made possible by $1.35 million in grants awarded to TMCF from the foundation's Racial Equity Fund.
"I can't say enough about our talented students who competed during Kroger's Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Innovation Challenge program," said Harry Williams, president and CEO of Thurgood Marshall College Fund. "Our students are exposed to the technologies that combat food insecurity in a challenging setting where they have an opportunity to make societal contributions toward a solution that will benefit others. We're always proud to partner with Kroger and appreciate their intentional investment in our students."