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03/09/2021

Kroger Grows Its Indoor Farming Program

A 70K-square-foot indoor farming facility operating at full capacity gives retailer the ability to support 300+ stores
Mike Troy
Editorial Director, Grocery Group
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Mike Zelkind, CEO and Co-founder of 80 Acres Farms
Mike Zelkind, CEO and co-founder of 80 Acres Farms.

A new 70,000-square-foot indoor farm and three other facilities operated by 80 Acres Farms are now supplying fresh produce to 316 Kroger locations across Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.

The newest 80 Acres Farm’s facility combined with three smaller locations have the capacity to grow 10 million fresh produce servings annual. That level of production is aided by the newest facility, which features grow benches that are arranged in a 10 by 10 configuration and stacked 10 levels high to maximize efficiency. The other three facilities are 10,000, 12,000 and 30,000 square feet.

“This newly expanded partnership means more communities will have just-picked produce at their fingertips 365 days a year. We’re proud to partner with 80 Acres Farms as we work together to create a world with zero hunger (and) zero waste,” said Dan De La Rosa, Kroger’s group VP of fresh merchandising.

The technology used by 80 Acres Farms means the company can grow pesticide-free produce all year long with a substantially reduced environmental footprint. For example, the company’s facilities use 97% less water than traditional growing methods. With locations closer to customers, the farm-to-table carbon footprint and overall food waste are low.

“Kroger leads with their commitment to fresh by providing customers access to fresher and more nutritious produce,” said Mike Zelkind, CEO and co-founder of Hamilton, Ohio-based 80 Acres Farms. “Consumers are looking for more nutrition from their diet and want to trust that their food is safe and chemical-free and it will last longer in their refrigerators."

Cincinnati-based Kroger employs nearly half a million associates who serve 9 million-plus customers daily through a seamless digital shopping experience and 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names. The company is No. 3 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2020 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.