Kroger leverages tech to drive local agenda


A new digital initiative at Kroger is designed to make it easier for emerging and local suppliers to expose their wares to Kroger’s merchants.

Kroger launched a new Web site called Kroger.Com/WeAreLocal that serves as a portal for suppliers to share information about their business, products and value to shoppers. Kroger has always had a commitment to supporting small-business owners and local vendors, according to Mike Donnelly, Kroger's Executive Vice President of Merchandising and Procurement.

"Our business has a track record of successfully blending centralized and decentralized decision making to promote local products while also enjoying economies of scale,” Donnelly said. “Since Kroger's day one, we have had a longstanding, 365-day-a-year commitment to support and source from local farmers, ranchers, food producers, wineries, breweries and product makers. There are tastes and products that are unique to every region."

The “We Are Local” Web site simplifies the process for Kroger’s merchants and smaller suppliers for whom navigating the complexities of working with major retailers can be a baffling and frustrating experience.

Kroger said it currently sources from thousands of local suppliers and its buyers continuously look for opportunities to purchase regionally. Doing so allows the company to expand its product offering, stimulate local economies and enhance product freshness. Sourcing locally also supports the company's sustainability commitments, including Kroger's Zero Hunger | Zero Waste initiative launched in September.

"Kroger has led the way for over a decade in making local, natural and organic products more affordable and accessible to America -- especially for shoppers on a budget," Donnelly said. "We've always believed that our customers shouldn't have to pay higher prices just because a product is local, natural or organic. There are a lot of headlines about making local, natural and organic foods more affordable. The truth is, we've always been affordable. That's why we developed our Simple Truth brand, which today is the biggest natural and organic brand in the country by volume."