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Kroger starts program to encourage more local grower suppliers

CINCINNATI, May 12, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — The Kroger Co. BB #:100073 today announced the Go Fresh & Local Supplier Accelerator, a new partnership program inviting American growers and producers to apply for the opportunity to work with the retailer.

The program, sponsored by Gourmet Foods International, will enable Kroger to discover new suppliers to support the continued expansion of its fresh departments – including produce, deli, bakery, meat, seafood, dairy, specialty cheeses, and floral – and its commitment to being Fresh for Everyone.

Starting today and through May 31, suppliers can apply to join the Go Fresh & Local Supplier Accelerator, which will be held in Cincinnati in August. In collaboration with Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing and RangeMe, Kroger’s category management and fresh director team will review applications in multiple rounds, selecting 15 finalists (one finalist per region per category) to attend the event.

All finalists will present to a panel of judges during a pitch session, with one overall winner selected from each region. The prize package for the five overall winners includes product placement on shelf within Kroger’s Family of Companies; recommended partnerships with Gourmet Foods International; and business development coaching from Kroger merchandising and sales leaders as well as PearlRock Partners CEO Brian Kelley, a 30-year consumer product industry veteran and former president of Keurig Green Mountain and Coca-Cola Refreshments.

“At Kroger, our Fresh for Everyone mission is anchored in consistently and creatively providing fresh and affordable food to our customers,” said Dan De La Rosa, Kroger’s group vice president of fresh merchandising.

“We’re dedicated to fostering innovation and investing in local, regional, and small businesses that make the best of food accessible to all. Our first Go Fresh & Local Supplier Accelerator is an extension of our commitment and we’re eager to invite suppliers of every size to participate, providing the potential to grow our businesses together.”

Kroger welcomes growers and producers to apply to the relevant regional categories below, in alignment with the following regional versus local grouping criteria:

Region 1: QFC, Fred Meyer, Ralphs, and Food 4 Less
Region 2: Fry’s Food Stores, Smith’s, King Soopers, City Market, and Dillons
Region 3: Kroger Houston, Kroger Dallas, Kroger Delta, and Kroger Nashville
Region 4: Mariano’s, Metro Market, Pick ‘n Save, Kroger Central, Kroger Michigan, Kroger Columbus
Region 5: Kroger Atlanta, Kroger Mid-Atlantic, Kroger Louisville, Harris Teeter and Kroger Cincinnati-Dayton

“Kroger is committed to offering the best assortment of fresh products enabled by an innovative portfolio of suppliers. In 2020 alone, we invested $4.1 billion in diverse suppliers — a 21% increase versus the previous year — and we’re working with intention to scale that number to $10 billion by 2030,” said Stuart Aitken, Kroger’s chief merchant and marketing officer.

“The Go Fresh & Local Supplier Accelerator will help us achieve our goal as well as advance our freshness commitment in our nearly 2,800 stores and across our Kroger.com e-commerce services, including Pickup, Delivery, and Ship.”