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College Students Conceptualize the Supermarket of the Future

E-week challenge calls for a fresh approach and new thinking

Emerson Climate Technologies hosted the University of Dayton’s E-week Innovation Challenge at Emerson’s new Helix Innovation Center. The entrepreneurial student club EMpwr and engineering-based KEEN organization also co-sponsored the challenge.


The theme of this year’s event was The Supermarket of the Future, and students were asked to brainstorm innovative concepts that addressed the many challenges and opportunities facing grocers today, such as: energy usage, convenience, customer experience and even aesthetics. At stake was prize money for the top three teams in the amounts of $1,500, $1,000 and $500, respectively.

Participants were judged on their ability to demonstrate the technical and financial feasibility of deploying their concept by 2050. In addition, teams were instructed to keep KEEN’s three C’s in mind: curiosity, connections and creating value. Finally, participants were reminded to not forget the all-important “wow factor” when conceptualizing and presenting their ideas.

The winning concepts

  • First place ($1,500): Nicolas Carducci

All in One — The winning concept featured a mobile device app that combines a recipe book, calorie counter, grocery list and food inventory, all integrated with supermarket and home food inventory databases for a streamlined shopping experience. The app displays nutritional information and expiration dates for the ingredients needed to make specific recipes, and then determines which items need to be purchased at the supermarket. The shopper then uses this app to order the missing ingredients and pick up the order at their preferred store location. The All in One app allows end users to keep track of caloric intake by entering the number of servings consumed in a particular recipe, and even provides push notifications for food expiration warnings.

  • Second place ($1,000): Manjhunath Ayyampudur, Christopher Wagner

Carbon Emissions — The first runner-up team pitched an innovative app that gives environmentally conscious shoppers a way to calculate the carbon footprint produced by their eating habits. By assigning a carbon equivalent value to each grocery item in the supermarket, consumers have the option to choose items that minimize their carbon footprint.

  • Third place ($500): Noelle Jacobs, Michael Keller, Sarah Stratil

STC Supermarket — This eco-friendly concept centers on a three-pronged approach that combines solar-equipped parking lots, self-scanning grocery carts and community food trucks to drive sustainable, technologically advanced and community-oriented supermarkets.

This blog is a summary of the article College Students Conceptualize the Supermarket of the Future from our recent edition of E360 Outlook. Click here to read the article in its entirety.

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