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Berkshire Grey: Changing the World with Intelligent Enterprise Robotics

By BG Blog Staff

Fast Company recognizes robotics automation company Berkshire Grey’s Picking With Purpose Program for the 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards under the Corporate Social Responsibility, Food, and General Excellence categories.

Fast Company this week recognized Berkshire Grey for its Picking With Purpose Program that addresses food insecurity head-on by partnering our intelligent robotic automation solutions with nonprofit food-rescue organizations to get much-needed resources to families in need. As part of its 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards, Fast Company awarded Berkshire Grey’s Picking With Purpose Program an honorable mention in the Corporate Social Responsibility, Food, and General Excellence categories and acknowledged the important role Berkshire Grey is playing in building a better world as we begin to emerge from the coronavirus crisis.

Since its launch in November 2020, Picking With Purpose has successfully donated 84,000 pounds of food and created 6,600 complete meal packages that have been distributed by partners to more than 34,000 people with food insecurity. With only a handful of BG volunteers to support the effort, Berkshire Grey systems were able to pick, sort, and box the food in a fraction of the time required by traditional methods. Berkshire Grey, the only robotics company landing on Fast Company‘s list this year, partnered with City Harvest and The Greater Boston Food Bank to make and continue to make a direct impact with these organizations and the many people they serve.

Berkshire Grey Founder and CEO Tom Wagner sums it up: “One of our corporate values is service. … It’s part of who we are and what we do. … Our employees are passionate about helping others. We’re all in on this, from a financial, technical, and team perspective. It’s an ongoing commitment.” 

We’ve Just Gotten Started

Berkshire Grey’s work is far from done considering there are some 50 million people now at risk to food insecurity due to the continuing impact of COVID-19 and 8 billion meals needed to address the 60% increase in the number of people seeking help from food banks — while the availability of volunteers has decreased by 50%.

Today, one in seven Americans rely on food from food banks and similar organizations, and our Picking With Purpose Program is designed to solve this problem. All the food in the world won’t help if it can’t get to those who desperately need it. That’s where Berkshire Grey plays a pivotal role. Much like Berkshire Grey itself — founded to solve the challenges of fulfillment and distribution centers across retail, eCommerce, grocery, and logistics industries with intelligent robotic automation — Picking With Purpose can safely automate much of the process of distributing needed resources to organizations that help feed the hungry.

At the center of the Picking With Purpose Program is a network of nonprofit food organizations that identify specific food requests for people in need, collect the items, and transform surplus items into sustenance care packages. The program also relies on partnerships with other socially responsible companies — grocery retailers, food vendors, manufacturers and delivery services — to source and distribute the needed goods.

Coupled with volunteer efforts, Berkshire Grey’s technology helps with surplus food distribution and the reduction of food waste just like it helps customers with eCommerce fulfillment, retail resupply, and logistics. To best support this effort, we are actively seeking sponsors and partnerships for food donation, transport of robotically created food care packages, and distribution to those in need.

“We are extremely honored that Fast Company recognized our Picking With Purpose Program and commitment to solving the difficult problem of food insecurity,” says Jessica Moran, SVP and General Manager at Berkshire Grey. “With this honorable mention, we hope to raise even more awareness around efforts to address food insecurity by partnering with food rescue organizations and applying intelligent technology to solve the really important problem of hunger and food insecurity.”

Berkshire Grey is honored to be mentioned as the only robotics company featured in Fast Company‘s round-up of world-changing efforts because of our innovative application of robotic automation to help end hunger. Food donors, potential sponsors, and other food-rescue organizations interested in joining the Picking With Purpose Program can inquire at

About the World Changing Ideas Awards: World Changing Ideas is one of Fast Company’s major annual awards programs and is focused on social good, seeking to elevate finished products and brave concepts that make the world better. A panel of judges from across sectors choose winners, finalists, and honorable mentions based on feasibility and the potential for impact. With the goals of awarding ingenuity and fostering innovation, Fast Company draws attention to ideas with great potential and helps them expand their reach to inspire more people to start working on solving the problems that affect us all.

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