The Kroger Co. Seeks Second Innovation Fund Cohort

2 Mar 2021

The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation is seeking participants for its second Innovation Fund cohort. Innovators with ideas and solutions to prevent food waste can submit an application by April 1 to be considered for business support and funding totaling $2.5 million in collective grants.

“The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation is committed to helping build a more efficient and resilient food system and charitable food system in the U.S. and beyond,” said Denise Osterhues, president of The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation, in a statement. “In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts, we are more determined than ever to direct as much food as possible to its highest purpose: feeding people. We can no longer afford to waste surplus food at any level in our food system. For that reason, we are pleased to offer the Innovation Fund’s second open call for proposals that directly support promising new ways to manufacture, process or distribute upcycled consumer food products.”

The Foundation, in collaboration with Village Capital and the Innovation Fund advisory committee, will review the applications and select 10 startups that will receive $100,000 in upfront seed grant funding, totaling an initial $1 million investment.

Then the grantees will participate in a virtual workshop focused on investment readiness, technical skill development and networking with a community of investors and mentors in and around the food system. The second cohort will have exclusive access to the Foundation and Village Capital’s leaders and partners, as well as the option to apply for follow-on funding.

Cohort members will each be eligible for an additional $100,000 grant from the Fund based on achievement of identified program milestones.

“Thirty-five percent of food produced in the U.S. is thrown away, yet 50 million Americans struggle with hunger every day, including an estimated 17 million children,” said Sunny Reelhorn Parr, executive director of The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation, in a statement. “We welcomed our first Innovation Fund cohort in 2019, by awarding a total of $1 million to accelerate programs and solutions. Now, we’re eager to work with Village Capital to accelerate partnerships with creative thinkers and problem solvers who share our vision of a world where food waste is no longer a reality.”

Related: Kroger Pays Employees to Receive VaccineCompanies Receive Kroger’s Racial Equity Fund Grants.

Image: The Kroger Co.