Necessity is often the mother of invention, and the growing online grocery shopping trend is an excellent example. Once considered a novelty, online grocery shopping options exploded during the pandemic and pushed this modern-day version of 'going to the market' into mainstream popularity.

The quick transition was not without growing pains. Many people find the process difficult to manage when trying to eat healthy foods or adhering to specific dietary needs. 

A trio of engineering undergraduates stepped in to address the problem in last year's eLab Summer Accelerator Program. During the 10-week program, Anna Prilutsky, Franchesca Doell, and Eleni Retzepis laid the foundation for Berry, a company that saves shoppers time and money while navigating the complexities of nutrition labels and dietary needs. 

Co-founder and CEO Prilutsky was inspired to build a social venture after taking John Danner's course Designing Ventures to Change the World, where she learned how for-profit or non-profit social-benefit ventures can be successful and do good in the world. Danner served as the team's advisor, "he guided Berry's transition from a collection of features to an actual product with clear benefits and helped us understand the value of our business." said Prilutsky.

Last fall, Cora Wen, Richard Jerry, Laya Reddy, and Jackson Lehner joined the team. The tight-knit group of seven then worked through the academic year to define their mission and create a product. Together they developed a browser extension that makes online grocery shopping easier, smarter, and healthier. 

Here's how Berry works. Users input their dietary requirements, health goals, restrictions, or allergies (the list goes on) into their profile. Then, as they shop, Berry gives them suggestions and guidance on the best products to add to their shopping cart and those to avoid.

"Let's say you have been diagnosed with hypertension, diabetes, or maybe you have food allergies or intolerances," explains Berry's CMO Lehner "you just input the information into your profile, and Berry provides personalized grocery recommendations and product ratings based on your nutrition preferences, conditions, and goals — all seamlessly layered on top of your shopping screen."

Berry recently launched their Google Chrome extension, which is now available for free on Amazon Fresh, Walmart Grocery, FreshDirect, and ShopRite websites. The team is motivated by the company's mission to help people live healthier and happier through better nutrition. They are eager to continue innovating and exploring Berry's potential to positively impact users' health.

Danner sees great potential in both the company and the team of talented social entrepreneurs. "Every once in a while, a spirited, creative team comes along with an idea that is not just a good business plan but can also improve people's lives on a day-to-day basis. Berry's mission to help people shop wiser and healthier rings both those bells and their dedicated team has the capability and determination to create sustainable positive impact."

The eLab Summer Accelerator is a 10-week immersive program providing the tools and resources students need to develop and launch their startups. The teams will pitch their business solutions at Keller's annual Demo Days on campus on Aug 2 and in New York City on Aug 4.