Kroger is accelerating innovation by opening a new test kitchen and training facility in downtown Cincinnati.
"Kroger's new Culinary Innovation Center is an exciting state-of-the-art test kitchen and education center," said Daniel Hammer, Kroger's vice president of culinary development and new business. "As we focus on redefining the customer experience and developing talent through food inspiration and uplift, as outlined in Restock Kroger, this R&D lab will allow us to accelerate product development for Our Brands, produce new recipes for Prep + Pared Meal Kits, explore new restaurant concepts, host food tastings and focus groups, and increase our associates' culinary knowledge."
Kroger started construction on the 12,000-square-feet, LEED-designed Center in March. The commercial kitchen features multiple cooking stations, spaces and capabilities, including technology that allows video streaming of educational sessions to Kroger associates across the country.
"The center gives our culinary team a fun, modern space to innovate and experiment with food trends, flavors, and ingredients to create new experiences for our customers," added Hammer.
Kroger introduced its first restaurant concept Kitchen 1883 in November 2017 and launched its Prep+Pared Meal Kits earlier in the same year, which are available for purchase in stores and through ClickList. Kroger has plans to rapidly grow the footprint of Prep+Pared Meal Kits in 2018.
"Kroger has operated grocery stores since 1883; we know food. People will always eat, but the way they eat will always change. Our new Center is one more tool we have to keep our pulse on customer trends and expand our foodie culture," said Hammer.
Kroger Co. operates 2,793 retail food stores under a variety of local banner names in 35 states and the District of Columbia.