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Kroger Crowns Winners of Waste Innovation Challenge

Students from HBCUs competed in 3-day pitch competition
Emily Crowe, Progressive Grocer
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Kroger is getting help with food waste and hunger relief solutions from students at HBCUs across the country.

Following its second annual Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Innovation Challenge, The Kroger Co. Foundation has named the scholarship award recipients and shared entrepreneurial pitch competition results.

The grocer collaborated with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund on the challenge, which is a three-day, in-person business pitch competition where students from Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs) work together to design solutions for three challenges aligning with Kroger's hunger and waste mission. Overall, 36 students and seven teams participated and a total of $74,000 in scholarships were awarded.

"Read more: "Why Kroger Is Buying Albertsons"]

"The talent and innovation from students in this annual pitch competition continues to amaze us," said Keith Dailey, Kroger's group VP of corporate affairs and president of The Kroger Co. Foundation. "These bright students are the future of the Zero Hunger | Zero Waste promise, and we are so proud to collaborate with them and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to offer scholarships that drive our commitment to creating more equitable communities that are free of hunger and waste."

University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Tuskegee University students tied for first place in the competition, with the former team looking at how Kroger can encourage, motivate, incentivize or reward its customers to reduce household food waste. The latter team put together a case study on a sustainable solution that will help eliminate food or operational waste in Kroger's supply chain, and students from each team were awarded $7,500.

In second place was Southern University, whose students looked at what Kroger can do to encourage healthier choices and be a leader in the food-as-medicine concept. Each team member was awarded $5,000.

"Kroger's Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Innovation Challenge program is an important part of preparing our talented students for the real world by offering them opportunities to make a significant societal contribution while helping Kroger accomplish its goal," said Dr. Harry L. Williams, president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. "In addition, they are exposed to new technologies in the web 3.0 space. These amazing students work together to solve real-world challenges. They never cease to impress us with their ingenuity and initiative. We're proud to once again be part of this program, amplifying incredible, untapped talent."

Serving 60 million households annually nationwide through a digital shopping experience, and almost 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names, Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 4 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. PG also named the company as a Retailer of the Century

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