Growing up in a designated food desert inspired Mark Peterson to focus on logistics needed to help underserved shoppers manage healthy and affordable meals for their families.
He launched Ziscuit to do just that. Peterson describes Ziscuit as a “grocery shopping platform and reverse auction marketplace.” Consumers post their lists and stores can bid on the customers’ wants based on their current deals.
The process for users is simple: Buyers log onto the grocery search engine and build a shopping list based on the products they need or preferences they have. They are then given a list based on where the cheapest prices for specific items are available. “It’s essentially Kayak for groceries. For the Kayak experience, you put where you want to go and when you want to come back, and they find you the cheapest flights. With [Ziscuit], you put your groceries up there, and we do the same thing,” Peterson added.
Ziscuit users save an average of 10% off each grocery bill, according to the startup’s website.
Ziscuit is heavily focused on people of any race or gender. From students coming out of college with massive amounts of student debt to Millennial families with kids who struggle to put food on the table to Baby Boomers on fixed incomes, Ziscuit’s technology is designed to give back to communities that haven’t been properly served.
This issue hits close to home for Peterson, who grew up in Alabama and watched his mother spend hours on grocery lists and coupon sorting only to watch her put food back they could never afford. In the United States alone, 35 million people are food insecure, including nearly 11 million children, according to a recent report from Feeding America.
And as food, medicine, and gas prices rise rapidly, Ziscuit is looking to restore customers’ purchasing power. When submitting a grocery list, grocery stores look at national brands, products they have good deals on, and private labels and store brand items, which may even beat the original mark customers were looking to spend.
After partnering with and receiving grants from Techstars Farm To Fork Accelerator, Google’s Founders Academy, and Innovation Depot’s 2022 Velocity Accelerator program in Birmingham, Peterson is looking to expand the company to help even more people.
“Ultimately, I want to deploy food lockers in underserved areas to deliver food to these shoppers to ensure they receive cheap food in a place that’s convenient for them,” Peterson told Hypepotamus.
Make Money On Your Recipes
For Peterson, “[Ziscuit] is all about sharing. Food is love and the company wants to share the love.”
Ziscuit has added a new feature for users to generate passive income to help with the end-of-month money struggles. By sharing personal recipes, users can earn credits based on the number of viewers who use their idea which is turned into real spending money. (Check out one user’s recipe for chocolate banana brownies if you are looking for something sweet this summer).
In the future, Peterson hopes to add a dashboard that allows parents to invest in their kid’s futures through a 529 college savings account.
Peterson’s passion for working in Georgia and Alabama lies in the fact that they have severe food deserts in the region. Peterson told Hypepotamus that the team has identified 25 cities with the “demographics and infrastructure that we need” to launch the auction part of the business.
As an entrepreneur and business executive, Peterson thrives on solving big problems that make his community better. “Ziscuit is going to reduce food waste, and it provides a tremendous way to balance a market that is new to innovation,” Peterson explained.
About the author: Julianna Bragg is studying Political Science and Journalism at Agnes Scott College. After college, she hopes to pursue a career in broadcast or digital journalism. Currently, she’s looking to connect the stories of entrepreneurs and innovators to improve social, racial, and environmental issues of the time.