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Social Entrepreneurship Team Wins $3,000 for Innovative Concept to Reduce Food Waste

Forty percent of food is wasted in the world. In the United States, this equals roughly 400 pounds annually for every American. Inspired by these alarming statistics, students from the University of Pittsburgh’s College of Business Administration recently developed innovative concepts to reduce food waste as part of Hackathon Saturday and the Panther Pit Pitch Competition.   

Pitt Enactus, a student-led social entrepreneurship club at Pitt Business, held the day-long hackathon at Mervis Hall. The top three teams each received a cash prize of $1,000 and advanced to the Panther Pit Competition held the following week. 

In this next round, each team was allotted five minutes to present their unique and innovative concepts to reduce food waste. The teams’ presentations were judged by a panel of distinguished alumni from Pitt Business and the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, including Joe Zunic (MBA ’94), The Hillman Company; Mark Frantz (MBA ’96, LAW ’96), BlueDelta Capital Partners; Andrew Myerson (BSBA ’05), Haymakers for Hope and Accomplice VC; and Archana Hingorani (PhD ’93, MBA ’86), IL&FS Investment Managers Unlimited. 

The top prize of $3,000 was awarded to Frugal Foodie, a mobile application designed to track the user’s food purchases and refrigerator contents, and deliver a notification when foods are going to expire. The team was comprised of Jack Glasl, Vicky Wu, Kendall Yamauchi, and Drew Brumbaugh. 

Once foods are consumed or expired, the user will have the option to restock that item through the app, and even create a grocery list based on purchase history and recipe planning. 

The audience choice award of $1,000, selected by a live Twitter poll, was awarded to “Rejuvenate,” an idea to use perishable fruits and vegetables foods from supermarkets, purchased for very little or no cost, and turn them into a juice that would be a shelf-stable product. The team was comprised of Victoria Meglio, Kevin Murray, and Kaitlin Augustine. 

“We are taking an item that is still good, we aren’t using produce that’s rotting or molding in any way, it’s just aesthetically not pleasing to the consumer, and we’re giving it a shelf life,” Murray says. 

The Panther Pit competition was part of the events leading up to the Pitt Business 52nd Annual Business Alumni Association Awards, which recognized Hingorani, International Distinguished Alumna Award; Julie Dobson (MBA ’79), Distinguished Alumna Award; J. Roger Glunt (BBA ’60), Distinguished Alumni Award; Distinguished University Professor Thomas Saaty, H.J. Zoffer Medal for Meritous Service Award; Frantz, Distinguished Service Award; Myerson, CBA Outstanding Alumni Award, and PNC Financial Services, Corporate Appreciation Award. 

As part of the events surrounding the awards program, Frantz moderated a panel of Limited Partners from The Hillman Company, The Dietrich Foundation, the University of Pittsburgh, and Carnegie Mellon University during The Investors’ Investor. Dobson lead a discussion on some of women’s challenging career questions during Straight Talk: A Conversation About the Corporate Ladder and Being on Boards; and Hingorani presented the Pitt Business Thought Leaders Discussion, in which she spoke of infrastructure and manufacturing hubs in India. 

The Pitt Business Alumni Association Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of alumni from the College of Business Administration and the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business. For more information about the nomination process, visit http://www.business.pitt.edu/alumni/awards/index.php.