Walgreens launches Kroger Express, expands meal kits to Chicago-area stores

(photo courtesy of Kroger Co.) A new Kroger Express concept launched at one Walgreens store in Kentucky, with 12 others expected in early 2019.

Shoppers at 65 Chicago-area Walgreens stores will now have access to meal kits from Kroger Co. in an expansion of an exploratory pilot by the two stores.

Cincinnati-based Kroger and Deerfield, IL-based Walgreens launched the initial pilot in October, with 13 Walgreens stores in Northern Kentucky near Kroger’s headquarters offering Kroger grocery items for online order pickup.

The expansion, announced Dec. 4, launches a new Kroger Express concept, a “curated assortment of 2,300 products,” according to a Kroger news release. The items were selected using data from Kroger’s 84.51° subsidiary and include Home Chef meal kits, dairy, meat, frozen, meal solutions and fresh produce.

The first Kroger Express is open in Florence, KY, and the remaining 12 pilot stores are expected to open early next year.

Sixty-five Walgreens stores in the Chicago area also started offering Home Chef Express meal kits. The pilot program includes three meal kit options on the shelves at Walgreens, with recipes rotating bi-weekly.

“Customers have responded favorably to retail meal kits at our Mariano’s stores in the market and other Kroger Family of Stores located in different cities,” said Robert Clark, Kroger’s senior vice president of merchandising, in a news release. “The Walgreens expansion provides more Chicagoans convenient access to a quick, simple meal.”

Pamela Riemenschneider is the Retail Editor for Blue Book Services.