Kroger isn’t the only grocery company to show increasing interest in Texas.
“Amazon has been a factor in home delivery of grocery for the past couple of years,” says Gary Huddleston, a grocery industry consultant for the Texas Retailers Association.
“Certainly, Whole Foods Market, now owed by Amazon, does a very good job in many markets, plus Amazon is using the Whole Foods stores to fulfill many home-delivery orders and order online/pick up at the store.
While Amazon may have an advantage, it’s far from intimidating its rivals across the state. “Many of the large grocers have robust home-delivery options,” Huddleston says.
Creating a membership program is another way grocery retailers are seeking to build customer loyalty.
“A number of retailers are following the subscription model and charging an annual fee for additional benefits like free home delivery, additional fuel points, and special electronic coupons,” Huddleston says. “Costco started this model with its annual fee.”
In July 2022, Kroger announced the national launch of Boost by Kroger, an annual membership program that provides customers with unlimited free grocery delivery on orders of $35 or more.
It also includes fuel discounts of up to $1 per gallon. Kroger estimates that annual membership, which costs either $59 or $99 a year, can save customers more than $1,000 a year on fuel and grocery delivery.
Smaller chains such as Sprouts Farmers Market, which specializes in fresh, natural, and organic products, aren’t standing still either. The Phoenix, AZ-based company opened four new stores in Dallas-Ft. Worth over the last couple of years.
The company emphasizes local products including fresh fruits and vegetables from Chip Berry Produce Company, Inc., South Tex Organics, LC, and True Harvest Farms.
Not to be outdone is Texas-based grocer Brookshire Brothers, Inc. Founded in Lufkin, the company has more than 100 grocery stores, 6,000 employee owners, 16 express stores, a central distribution center, 72 pharmacies, 87 fueling stations, 4 coffee shops, and 2 event venues.
Among its upcoming projects is a new supermarket in Huntington. Construction is slated for this year, with an opening planned for 2024. The site will also include a convenience store and fuel center.
Brookshire’s president, John Alston, believes adding a fuel center and convenience store “will provide the opportunity for us to offer more solutions and meet everyday shopping needs,” according to the company’s website.
Other news includes opening a store in Cuero, TX last year, and investing millions of dollars to improve its existing locations in Smithville, Lumberton, Rusk, Katy, Jacksonville, and Lufkin.
The upgrades include major exterior facelifts, new interior paint and flooring, updated signage, and buildouts to accommodate the company’s curbside pickup and delivery service, called Brookshire Brothers Anywhere.
This is an excerpt from the Texas supplement in the March/April 2023 issue of Produce Blueprints Magazine. Click here to read the whole supplement.