INDIANAPOLIS (May 17, 2022) — AgriNovus Indiana, a non-profit focused on growing Indiana’s agbioscience economy, launched a challenge today to inspire innovation that better serves food insecure people participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), an approximately $100 billion federal program through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
In partnership with Anthem, the HungerTech Innovation Challenge creates an opportunity for companies, entrepreneurs, students and innovators to compete for a $25,000 grand prize by developing new technologies and models to enable SNAP recipients to purchase groceries online and receive the products regardless of location.
“Food deserts have long been defined by proximity to a retail grocer; our ambition with the HungerTech Innovation Challenge is to inspire the creation of new technologies and systems that make physical location no longer a barrier,” said Mitch Frazier, president and CEO of AgriNovus. “With the significant adoption of mobile devices and tremendous innovation in ecommerce and on-demand delivery, opportunity exists to build a better system that better serves those in need and reflects the reality of today’s mobile-first world.”
A 2021 study commissioned by AgriNovus with EY-Parthenon and Purdue University entitled “Resilience through disruption: The impact of the pandemic on Indiana and the future of food and agriculture,” notes that food insecurity impacts 11% of the United States population and 13% of Hoosiers. Moreover, 22% of Indiana residents live in food deserts with low access to healthy nutrition.
The HungerTech Innovation Challenge includes a four-week AgriNovus-led accelerator program that will provide Challenge participants access to advisors to guide product development, ensure integration with existing systems and validate application of solutions. A panel of industry experts will select the winning team in July, and AgriNovus will work with the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration to explore piloting the solution in the third quarter of 2022. AgriNovus plans to present findings from the Challenge to policymakers before year end.
“Anthem is proud to partner in this effort because we believe in the concept of food as medicine and in the power of digital innovations to transform our healthcare system and improve the health of individuals across the country,” said Anthem Chief Health Office Shantanu Agrawal, M.D. “The HungerTech Innovation Challenge is another aspect of Anthem’s commitment to identify innovative solutions that reduce food insecurity and the chronic health conditions facing those who lack access to nutritious food.”
Solutions developed in the Challenge will be evaluated against the ability to:
- Use technology to improve access, simplify online SNAP transactions and unlock no-cost delivery while increasing adoption of online ordering.
- Build a scalable mobile-first solution that could be replicated nationally with a path to profitability.
Companies, individuals and entrepreneurs who want to participate in the Challenge can access technical information, Challenge objectives, rules and register to participate online at AgriNovusIndiana.com/HungerTech. Registration ends May 31.
About AgriNovus Indiana
AgriNovus Indiana is a non-profit organization focused on advancing the agbiosciences sector by connecting and convening stakeholders to deliver innovative ways to inspire and attract agbiosciences talent, companies and innovation to the state. AgriNovus Indiana is an initiative of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP), an effort dedicated to the region’s continued prosperity and growth. Learn more at www.AgriNovusIndiana.com.
About Anthem, Inc.
Anthem is a leading health company dedicated to improving lives and communities, and making healthcare simpler. Through its affiliated companies, Anthem serves approximately 118 million people, including nearly 47 million within its family of health plans. Delivering health beyond healthcare, Anthem is expanding from being a partner in health benefits to a lifetime, trusted health partner. For more information, please visit www.antheminc.com or follow @AnthemInc on Twitter.