The Kroger Co. has launched a new program for its Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation to crowdsource innovative ideas on how to prevent food waste.
Through the Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Innovation Fund, the Cincinnati-based grocer is inviting eligible innovators to submit a letter of intent for their ideas and solutions, which will be accepted through March 4. For the inaugural invite, Kroger will award grants valued between $25,000 and $250,000 per project, focusing first on emerging technologies and ideas intended to prevent food waste.
Together, the board of the Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation and an advisory council of leaders from the World Wildlife Fund, Feeding America, ReFED, Kroger Technology and 84.51° will evaluate the proposals submitted. They will judge them based on criteria such as alignment with Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste plan, potential for positive impact in U.S. communities served by Kroger banners, ease of implementation, geography, measurability, and scalability.
"Achieving Zero Hunger | Zero Waste requires creative ideas and scalable solutions to disrupt the food system as we know it," said Jessica Adelman, Kroger's group VP corporate affairs. "Through Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Innovation Fund, we seek to partner with creative thinkers and innovators who share our vision for a better world. Kroger’s history of generosity is captured in the forward-looking mission of our Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation, and we are committing up to $1 million in grants for the first cohort to inspire and capture the innovative thinking required to fix our country’s hunger/food waste paradox."
Grant recipients will be announced in the spring, and those selected will receive access to Kroger leaders and partners; the potential to test their solution with Kroger or a partner; networking opportunities with program peers, industry experts and investors; visibility through case studies, showcases and promotional content; and the option to apply for follow-on funding.
Kroger unveiled its Zero Hunger | Zero Waste commitment in September 2017, pledging $10 million to support new ideas and concepts. Through the program, the grocery giant intends to eliminate hunger in the communities it serves, as well as waste across the company, by 2025.
No. 2 on Progressive Grocer’s 2018 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States, Cincinnati-based Kroger employs nearly half a million associates who serve more than 9 million customers daily through a seamless digital shopping experience and 2,800 retail food stores under a range of banner names. It was named Progressive Grocer's 2018 Retailer of the Year.