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Kroger Adds Ukrop’s Homestyle Signature Products in Richmond

Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods’ signature prepared food and bakery items, once exclusively available at Martin’s Food Markets, will now be carried by 18 Kroger stores in the Richmond, Va., area, according to a published report. Following fixture and signage updates, the rollout to the additional locations is expected to be complete by Feb. 15, when an official launch will take place, accompanied by an extensive marketing campaign.

The Kroger stores will also become pickup locations for Ukrop’s special-order birthday and other custom cakes and bakery products, with in-store kiosks where customers can order the items.

Cincinnati-based Kroger previously offered items made by Ukrop’s but under the Good Meadow brand and the grocer’s own private label. Both will now switch to the Ukrop’s brand.

“This is transformational ... from a brand point of view,” Robert S. “Bobby” Ukrop, president and CEO of Henrico, Va.-based Ukrop’s, was quoted as saying by the Richmond Times Dispatch. “We’ve spent a lot of time with a certain amount of restrictions. Now, we have the opportunity to move around.”

“As long as we have been in the Richmond market, we know how special and nostalgic the Ukrop’s brand is to Richmond,” Kroger Mid-Atlantic division spokeswoman Anne Jenkins told the newspaper. “We’ve long admired the brand ourselves, and we know that our customers are going to enjoy being able to pick up all their favorite Ukrop’s items while they are shopping with us at Kroger.”

Jenkins added that Kroger may eventually carry some Ukrop’s branded products at all 122 stores in its six-state Mid-Atlantic division. Currently, Ukrop’s products under different labels are available in 86 Kroger stores.

In the near future, Ukrop’s products will also be sold at two local Wegmans stores, Libbie Market in Richmond and other retailers, according to the Times Dispatch.

The Ukrop’s expansion comes as Martin’s begins to exit the Richmond market. Ten of 19 Martin’s stores in the area have been purchased by Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix, and the rest are for sale. The Ukrop’s exclusivity agreement with Martin’s was forged in 2010, when the Ukrop’s Super Markets supermarket chain, formerly the top grocer in the region, sold 25 of its stores to Amsterdam-based retail conglomerate Ahold, which converted the stores to the Martin’s banner. Following the sale, the Ukrop family spun off its prepared food and bakery production units, creating Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods to continue to make many of the company’s locally famous foods. The July 2016 merger of Ahold and Delhaize led to the sale of some Martin’s stores to resolve federal antitrust issues.

Richmond-area Martin’s stores will continue to carry Ukrop’s foods as long as they remain open, and Ukrop’s will also continue to supply Martin’s stores outside the region, the Times Dispatch reported.

Among the Ukrop’s branded foods that Kroger and other retailers will offer are White House Rolls, sandwiches, green salads, deli salads, entrees, side dishes, soups, cookies, brownies, pies, cupcakes, cakes, pastries, breakfast items and muffins.

Ukrop’s makes 400-plus food items at production plants in Virginia’s Henrico and Chesterfield counties.

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