Kroger Launches Digital Farmers Market

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Grocery giant Kroger is piloting a digital farmers market in Atlanta with Market Wagon, an online ordering and delivery service for food from local farmers and artisan producers.

Developed as an e-commerce marketplace for local farmers and businesses, the digital platform, called Kroger Farmers Market, offers over 1,150 products from local vendors, including farmers, bakeries and food artisans. All items found on the delivery-only service are exclusive and are not yet available at Kroger stores.

"Kroger's new digital farmers market pilot is part of the evolution of our rapidly growing and innovative e-commerce business," said Felix Turner, Kroger’s corporate affairs manager for the Atlanta division, in a news release. "This partnership reinforces the importance of buying local to customers, powered by modern, cost-effective and efficient last-mile solutions.”

The new partnership will serve a 60-mile radius across Atlanta that includes 28 counties in the metropolitan area. Customers have the option to choose their preferred delivery day of either Tuesday or Friday.

In addition to placing orders via the dedicated Market Wagon microsite, interested vendors can apply to sell their products on Kroger’s digital farmers market via the same site.

The launch of the digital delivery service coincides with Kroger’s broader efforts of expanding its e-commerce and delivery offerings by leveraging both its stores and robotic warehouses, which the grocer said in 2018 that it would start building, Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen recently told Path to Purchase IQ sister-brand Progressive Grocer in an exclusive interview.

Kroger now has 2,200 locations that offer online grocery pickup, 2,500 locations that offer delivery and at least 17 warehouses, or customer fulfillment centers (CFCs), that it’s planning to open by 2023. The grocer is leveraging these CFCs to enter new geographies without opening physical supermarkets. Back in April, Kroger revealed it will offer grocery delivery in new markets for the company, including Alabama, Texas and California.

This expansion is an extension of Kroger’s partnership with U.K. online grocer Ocado, which began in 2018 with the partners establishing a delivery network that leverages artificial intelligence, robotics and automation. Through a “hub-and-spoke” delivery network, the organization now serves customers in Florida without brick-and-mortar stores.

Additionally, in May, Kroger added a spoke facility in Lockbourne, Ohio, to expand its fast online delivery capability in Central Ohio, including Columbus.