News Briefs


Kroger Deploys PackIt Fresh Mobile Refrigeration Solution

Kroger PackIt Fresh Teaser

The Kroger Co. has expanded its partnership with PackIt by collaborating on an operational pilot supporting the grocer’s growing e-commerce network.

When contacted by Progressive Grocer for more details on the pilot, a PackIt spokeswoman replied: “The current program is rolling out across multiple regions, including the midwestern and western U.S., through the spring. We expect to expand to even more locations in the back half of 2022.

“We’re thrilled Kroger has chosen the PackIt Fresh mobile refrigeration solution,” said Melissa Kieling, founder and president of Agoura Hills, Calif.-based PackIt. “Our EcoFreeze totes ensure a mobile, chilled food-safe environment that pickup orders can be directly packed into for fresh, curbside pickup for customers!” 

The PackIt Fresh mobile refrigeration system aims to create efficiencies through each step of online grocery order fulfillment. Collapsible, freezable, reusable PackIt Fresh EcoFreeze totes enable retailers to meet growing storage, pickup and delivery demands. PackIt’s patented EcoFreeze Technology consists of freezable gel built into the walls of every PackIt Fresh tote. This technology keeps perishables cold and food-safe for 15 hours.

Serving 60 million households annually nationwide through a digital shopping experience, and almost 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names, Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 3 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Blue Apron Reaches Its 2022 Carbon Neutrality Goal

Blue Apron's Q3 Revenue Climbs 13%

Blue Apron Holdings, Inc. has officially become carbon neutral, meeting the goal it set out for itself of hitting the milestone by March 31, 2022. The company bought carbon offsets from financial services business Aspiration, which had conducted an initial carbon footprint analysis for the meal kit company.

The purchased credits cover estimated upstream and downstream emissions, including sourcing, packaging and transporting Blue Apron’s products, and offset Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions as defined by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.

“Sustainability has always been part of our DNA and we believe it’s important to conduct our business in a way that mitigates our impact on the world around us,” said Linda Findley, president and CEO of New York-based Blue Apron. “Achieving our carbon neutrality goal was one of our top priorities. While we are proud of this achievement, we know that there’s more work for us to do, along with others in the industry, to help ensure a better world for future generations.”

The company is now working toward reaching net zero status through further systematic reductions throughout its operations.


eGrowcery Teams With DoorDash Drive

eGrowcery Logo Teaser

eGrowcery, an e-commerce software company, has established a partnership with DoorDash Drive, the white-label fulfillment delivery service of San Francisco-based DoorDash, to provide supermarkets and other retailers access to a large delivery fleet. 

Under the partnership, retailers using the eGrowcery platform will now be able to benefit from DoorDash Drive’s integration and logistics while owning their own shopper data. Because eGrowcery puts control and data ownership in the hands of retailers, they maintain a direct connection with their customers through their own branded apps, which enables them to profitably grow their businesses.

“The combination of eGrowcery’s intuitive shopping experience and fully integrated fulfillment process with DoorDash’s scale and convenience is very compelling,” said eGrowcery CEO Patrick Hughes. “By teaming up with DoorDash, we are able to offer our retail customers a turn-key solution to help them address their local commerce needs.” 

Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based eGrowcery, which operates in both the U.S. and abroad, is seeing a growing number of retailers working to establish their own branded e-commerce experiences.


Kroger Names New Director, Corporate Communications & Media Relations

Kroger Names New Director, Corporate Communications & Media Relations

The Kroger Co. has named Erin Rolfes director of corporate communications and media relations. She will be responsible for enhancing and protecting Kroger's corporate reputation, driving the brand narrative across the company's many lines of business, and serving as the company's spokeswoman.

Rolfes joined the Kroger team in 2018 as the corporate affairs manager for the Cincinnati-Dayton division, where she led media, strategic communications, government relations, community engagement and philanthropy. In 2021, she was promoted to head of Kroger Technology & Digital Communications.

Prior to Kroger, Rolfes held several key roles in professional communications, including television production, agencies, and as manager of public relations and communications for REDI Cincinnati.

Rolfes serves on the boards of Our Daily Bread and the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. She holds a B.A. in international affairs/international politics from The George Washington University, and an M.A. in strategic public relations from the same institution.

Rolfes succeeds Kristal Howard, who is leaving the company in May to pursue other interests.

Serving 60 million households annually nationwide through a digital shopping experience, and almost 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names, Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 3 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.


Kalera Opens Vertical-Farming Facility in Denver

Kalera Denver Facility Teaser

Colorado residents will soon be able to shop locally for lettuce and microgreens from hydroponic indoor vertical-farming company Kalera,which has opened a facility in the Denver area. The nearly 90,000-square-foot facility, located at 18000 E 40th Avenue, in Aurora, Colo., is the company’s fifth domestic farm, joining locations in Atlanta and Houston, as well as two in Orlando.

The first harvest at the Denver facility is scheduled for May. 

“Increasing our national and global footprint has been a priority for our team as we seek to serve our major retail and foodservice customers,” said Curtis McWilliams, interim CEO of Orlando, Fla.-based Kalera. “Opening this facility is an exciting step towards this goal, and we’re proud to serve urban communities like Denver with clean, nutrition-dense leafy greens that are accessible to local consumers.” 

Kalera greens are pesticide-free and non-GMO. The climate-controlled environments at the company’s facilities allow for sustainable farming methods that include water recycling and optimization of plant nutrient formulas to maximize production. Currently, all of Kalera’s large-scale U.S. farms are operating above the company’s 80% throughput yield target, with its newest facilities prior to Denver, Atlanta and Houston, having achieved this performance considerably ahead of schedule. Kalera is also making improvements in production capacity and corresponding revenues as demand for its products continues to rise. According to a company spokeswoman, its greens are sold at such grocers as Kroger, H-E-B and Walmart.

The Denver opening follows news of Kalera’s recent merger with Houston-based special-purpose acquisition company Agrico Acquisition Corp. The partnership will result in Kalera becoming the first vertical-farming company to go public on the NASDAQ market, which the company plans later this year. 

Beyond the U.S., Kalera operates farms in Munich and Kuwait, with a facility slated to open in Singapore later this year.


Wegmans Joins Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative

Seafood Section Teaser

Wegmans has joined the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) as a funding partner. As part of the company’s ongoing sustainability journey, it has focused its efforts on a sustainably sourced seafood supply, partnering only with trusted suppliers that meet its high standards and share its commitment to making a difference. 

“By partnering with GSSI, we’re able to further our commitment to responsibly sourced seafood while building trust with our customers,” said Steve Philips, Wegmans’ seafood group manager. “Using GSSI’s benchmarking as a foundational tool in our sourcing strategy will help clarify our expectations to our farmers, fishers and suppliers. GSSI is an industry-leading organization, where all its partners share a common goal. We’re excited to join the conversation and help drive the industry forward to a more sustainable future.”

Based in Haarlem, Netherlands, GSSI is a public-private partnership working together to turn seafood into a driver for good to preserve oceans for future generations and secure more sustainable seafood for everyone.The GSSI Global Partnership is one of the largest precompetitive collaborations in the world, aligning businesses, NGOs, governments and international organizations representing the full seafood value chain. 

Family-owned Wegmans operates 106 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts and North Carolina. The Rochester, N.Y.-based company is No. 35 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top retailers of food and consumables in North America.