Kroger forages for natural food suppliers

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Kroger forages for natural food suppliers

By Gina Acosta - 02/08/2018

Kroger is doubling down on clean eating trends by hosting a second natural foods innovation summit in less than six months.

Kroger hosted its inaugural natural foods summit in October and the company says it was so successful it plans at least two such summits for 2018.

"Kroger's Simple Truth, our brand of natural, organic and free-from products, has achieved $2 billion in annual sales and our organic produce sales have reached $1 billion annually since we hosted our first summit. These are just two examples of our customers' growing desire for clean products – and our ability to deliver for them," said Jill McIntosh, Kroger's vice president of natural foods. "Kroger's Summit is an exciting innovation platform that promotes discussion about natural food trends and provides a stage for emerging brands to get their products in front of our buyers and category managers."

More than 40 brands participated in the initial Summit, representing different U.S. regions and categories, including snacks, beverages, yogurts, vitamins and supplements, and protein bars and powders.

"New brands and products are key components of Kroger's growth strategy," added McIntosh. "In 2018, Kroger will continue to focus on developing new partnerships at micro and macro levels and sourcing locally and regionally. These are just a few of the ways we are redefining the customer experience as outlined in our Restock Kroger plan."

Local and natural foods brands can visit Kroger.Com/WeAreLocal to learn how to join Kroger's family of suppliers. Sourcing locally also supports the company's sustainability commitments, including its Zero Hunger | Zero Waste initiative launched last September.

Kroger's next Natural Foods Innovation Summit will take place in June and the company will participate in the Natural Products Expo West event in March, giving brands the opportunity to pitch their products to a panel of Kroger merchandising leaders and influencers.

Kroger operates 2,793 retail food stores under a variety of local banner names in 35 states and Washington, D.C.