The Kroger Co. has opened a Culinary Innovation Center in downtown Cincinnati, the grocer’s hometown.
“Kroger’s new Culinary Innovation Center is an exciting state-of-the-art test kitchen and education center,” noted Daniel Hammer, the company’s VP of culinary development and new business. “As we focus on redefining the customer experience and developing talent through food inspiration and uplift, as outlined in Restock Kroger, this R&D lab will allow us to accelerate product development for Our Brands, produce new recipes for Prep+Pared Meal Kits, explore new restaurant concepts, host food tastings and focus groups, and increase our associates’ culinary knowledge.”
The grocer began construction on the 12,000-square-feet, LEED-designed facility in March 2017. The commercial kitchen offers multiple cooking stations, spaces and capabilities, including technology that enables video streaming of educational sessions to Kroger associates across the country.
Added Hammer: “The center gives our culinary team a fun, modern space to innovate and experiment with food trends, flavors and ingredients to create new experiences for our customers.”
Kroger introduced its first restaurant concept, Kitchen 1883, last November, and rolled out the Prep+Pared line in stores and via its ClickList online-ordering program earlier in 2017. The company has revealed plans to rapidly grow the kits' footprint this year.
“Kroger has operated grocery stores since 1883; we know food,” observed Hammer. “People will always eat, but the way they eat will always change. Our new center is one more tool we have to keep our pulse on customer trends and expand our foodie culture.”
The company operates 2,793 retail food stores under a variety of banners in 35 states and the District of Columbia.