April 6, 2016
Emerson Student Startup Plenish Aims to Revolutionize Grocery Shopping

As the annual Emerson College E3 Exposition quickly approaches, startups and venture ideas in the school’s 2016 class are getting ready to compete with each other for startup funds. One of the concepts that has caught our eye is Plenish.

At one time or another, everyone’s gone to the grocery store, left their list at home, and forgotten what food items they have in their fridge or pantry. That’s why Emerson seniors Jacob Forchheimer and James Carr have come up with Plenish, a way for consumers to know what they do and don’t have in their fridge when heading out to the grocery store - no list required.

Plenish allows users to monitor food consumption, eliminate food waste, and automatically order new groceries straight from their smartphone. Not only does Plenish track inventory in your fridge, but it also monitors expiration dates to alert you when certain items need to replenishing. Plenish works via a series of scales that are placed underneath everyday items inside your fridge.

“We started with an idea as simple as having an egg tray in your fridge that sensed each individual egg and notified you when the eggs were over,” says Plenish Co-founder Carr.

When asked about the biggest pain point they’re aiming to solve, both founders referred to their mothers as their primary target audience.

“As a kid, I would just take things out from the fridge and my mum would always say, “Where has all this gone?” and never be updated on what was left in the fridge/pantry,” says Plenish Co-founder Forchheimer.   

Grocery shopping, reinvented

For now, Plenish is targeting consumers, but Carr and Forcheimer say the vision for Plenish is much larger. Plenish fits other pain points and demographics as well, specifically the food and beverage industry.

“Creating partnerships with various cafes, bars, and restaurants is one of goals down the road, even if it’s as simple as providing the scales for the milk at the coffee stand,” says Forchheimer.

The way they envision Plenish to work is simple. First, consumers must purchase the scales followed by downloading the app that syncs with them. Once a food is synced within the app, the timer begins. After that, the app does all the work,, alerting users when the fridge needs restocking or when the milk has expired. Another capability the app has is detecting location. If it detects a user is near a grocery store, it will automatically notify them of what they don’t have at home.

The popularity of the kitchen tech scene is growing and co-founders Carr and Forchheimer feel they are stepping in the right industry. Even though the pain point Plenish is solving might not be as personal to them as it would be to their mothers, they are confident it could help consumers of all ages change everyday habits.

Manisha Tolani is a recent graduate of Emerson College, where she studied marketing, communications, and entrepreneurship. Follow her on Twitter: @manisha_tolani

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