The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation is accepting applications now through April 1 for its Innovation Fund. This opportunity for innovative startups is aimed at reducing food waste through upcycled products.
Ten applicants will receive a combined US$2.5 million to help combat food waste. The Foundation has partnered with Village Capital, an international impact venture capital fund. According to the Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation, the initiative has raised and distributed over US$15 million since its creation in 2018.
“The Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation works with organizations, innovators and changemakers across the nation to address a fundamental absurdity in our food system: 35 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,” says Sunny Reelhorn Parr, executive director of The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation, in a recent press release.
Village Capital and the Foundation will review applications and select 10 finalists to receive US$100,000 upfront as seed capital, with an additional US$100,000 available to each startup based on their achievement of identified milestones.
According to the Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation application, after receiving the awards, the startups will participate in at least 30 hours of virtual technical and business mentorship. The companies will also gain access to the Foundation and Village Capital’s network of partners, investors, stakeholders and mentors.
Following this 6-month period of training and support, two out of the 10 startups will receive an additional US$250,000, decided through a peer-based voting process.
Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation and Village Capital represent innovative entrepreneurship of upcycled foods and growing attention surrounding food waste. This applicant pool will be the second group of companies helping to further the Foundation’s mission of implementing dynamic treatments to help optimize food use and impact food supply chains.