Top trends in natural foods are holistic health, convenience and sustainability. Consumer insights show that customers are adopting a 360-degree approach to health and wellness, including greater consumption of natural foods to prevent illnesses. A growing number of customers are seeking healthier on-the-go snacks and meals, and nutritional drinks are increasingly becoming meal replacements.
To better address these consumer needs, The Kroger Co. hosted its first natural foods innovation summit, in partnership with its insights subsidiary 84.51°, in its headquarters city of Cincinnati.
The Oct. 12 summit featured keynote speaker Joy Bauer, founder of Nourish Snacks and the health and nutrition expert on NBC-TV’s The Today Show.
“Kroger is proud of the role we’ve played in making natural and organic products more affordable and accessible to America,” said Jill McIntosh, Kroger’s VP of natural foods. “This category was a $16 billion business for us in 2016, and today’s company-produced expo is an innovation platform that allows us to continue to expand our natural foods product portfolio by partnering with emerging brands on micro and macro levels.”
LOCAL, REGIONAL SOURCING
Kroger’s team of buyers continuously look for opportunities to purchase regionally that allow the company to expand its product portfolio for customers, stimulate the local economy and enhance product freshness. Sourcing locally also supports the company’s sustainability commitments, including Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste initiative launched last month. Recently, Kroger joined the Sustainable Packaging Coalition, a membership-based collaborative of like-minded companies striving to advance sustainable packaging.
“Kroger is leading the way to redefine the food and grocery customer experience as one part of our Restock Plan announced yesterday in New York at our annual investor conference,” McIntosh said. “Customer lifestyles are evolving, and as America’s grocer, we understand the importance of carrying relevant products at affordable prices that are meaningful to the nearly 9 million customers we serve daily in our family of stores.”
Kroger will begin to host Natural Foods Innovation Summit events a few times per year. Local and natural foods brands can visit Kroger.Com/WeAreLocal to learn how to join Kroger’s family of suppliers.
Kroger operates 2,793 retail food stores under a variety of local banner names in 35 states and Washington, D.C.