Kroger wants to accelerate its go fresh and go local push
Kroger is bringing back an accelerator program designed to help local fresh food suppliers from across the country gain access to the supermarket giant’s store shelves.
The Go Fresh & Local Supplier Accelerator is part of Kroger’s ongoing expansion of its fresh departments across the store.
Kroger is encouraging suppliers to apply for the program between today and May 23. Those selected will be invited to a two-day event to be held in Cincinnati in August. Kroger will invite a total of 30 finalists to attend with the top 15 getting the opportunity to present to the chain’s executives. In the end, five winners will be named.
Winners will get their products on store shelves at Kroger-owned chain stores. They will also get recommended partnerships with sponsors and business development coaching from leaders drawn from Kroger’s merchandising and sales teams.
“Kroger is fully committed to supporting a diverse group of innovative, local suppliers who can bring a great assortment of fresh products to our customers,” Stuart Aitken, Kroger’s chief merchant and marketing officer, said in a statement.
Suppliers seeking consideration for the accelerator program are welcomed to apply as local or regional suppliers. Kroger distinguishes firms by the following criteria:
- Small producers;
- Located in-state or the immediate market;
- Community-inspired and locally relevant items;
- Merchandised in less than approximately 100 stores.
- Larger producers;
- Cross state and division boundaries;
- Still locally relevant to customers;
- Merchandised in approximately 100 or more stores.
“Last year, the Go Fresh and Local cohort brought fresh ideas and innovative new products to the table that blew our judges away,” said Dan De La Rosa, Kroger’s group vice president of fresh merchandising. “Every single one of last year’s cohort has now seen their products on Kroger shelves, helping us bring the tastes and flavors our customers love straight to local stores. We look forward to building on last year’s success and are excited to bring in new suppliers to participate in the opportunity to join the Kroger family.”
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Are accelerator programs such as Kroger’s a good way to onboard local and regional suppliers? What do you see as the appropriate roles for central buying offices and local stores when it comes to bringing on new suppliers?