Kroger's fresh produce suppliers will be required to use Integrated Pest Management practices for all products supplied to the grocer.
The Kroger Co. is keeping an eye toward biodiversity and protecting pollinators as it unveils a new goal to further advance sustainability in its fresh supply chain. Over the next several years, Kroger will require its fresh produce suppliers to use Integrated Pest Management practices for all products supplied to the grocery based on their size.
Medium- to large-sized growers that supply Kroger with products are expected to meet the goal by the end of 2028, while small-sized growers must meet the goal by 2030. Further, the food retailer plans to conduct a supply chain biodiversity risk assessment, pilot biodiversity metrics with row crop and specialty crop suppliers, and also conduct targeted climate risk assessments within its supply chain.
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"We depend on a healthy and resilient agriculture supply chain to keep bringing fresh, affordable food to more of America," said Lisa Zwack, head of sustainability for Kroger. "This new goal reflects Kroger's evolving approach to sustainability and resource conservation, including setting clear expectations with growers to support the transition to more sustainable fresh food production."
In order to develop the goal and create a roadmap for compliance for its producers, Kroger worked with the Sustainable Food Group, a branch of IPM Institute of North America. Kroger also interviewed suppliers to ensure its new goal is both impactful and achievable.
Suppliers can comply with the new standard by achieving one of the following certifications:
- Bee Better
- Certified Sustainably Grown
- Equitable Food Initiative
- Fair Trade International
- Fair Trade USA
- GLOBAL G.A.P.
- LEAF MARQUE
- Rainforest Alliance
- Regenerative Organic
- Sustainable Food Group Sustainability Standard
- USDA Organic, or international equivalents
"We are incredibly proud to have supported Kroger in the development of this policy, which will drive positive outcomes for biodiversity, including pollinator and broader agroecosystem health through adoption of robust Integrated Pest Management and other sustainable agriculture practices across fresh produce supply chains," said Ariel Larson, senior project manager at Sustainable Food Group.
Serving more than 11 million customers daily through a digital shopping experience and a variety of banner names, Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 4 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. PG also named the company to its Retailers of the Century list.