Jones Soda Co. has engaged the services of food broker Empire Marketing Strategies to expand its existing relationship with Kroger stores. The Empire team has worked exclusively within the Kroger environment for more than 40 years, providing retail, brand-specific and analytics services through more than 530 dedicated specialists to drive both in-store and e-commerce sales.
More than 2,000 Kroger-owned stores nationwide currently carry core Jones Soda items, including top-selling flavors in single bottles and multi-packs as well as Jones’ rotating series of limited-edition Special Release flavors. Distribution spans all stores operating under the Kroger brand as well as hundreds operating under the Dillon, Fred Meyer, Frys, King Soopers, Ralphs, Roundy’s, Smiths and QFC banners.
Empire is now responsible for the management of Jones Soda and its sister Lemoncocco brand at the Kroger general office, store and division levels, including efforts to increase Jones’ brand assortment in-store across all Kroger divisions.
The Empire team also will manage Jones inventory at Kroger’s expanding network of Ocado-automated spoke e-commerce fulfillment facilities, which are helping Kroger extend online grocery delivery into geographies it cannot reach with its major Ocado customer fulfillment hubs. Kroger currently has 16 Ocado sheds managed by Empire.
“We continue to deepen our key partnerships with customers like Kroger, and I’m grateful for their continued support of our products,” said Dan Buchanan, Vice President of Sales for the Jones Soda Beverage Division. “We look to continue our work in strengthening our relationships with them and maintaining healthy, long-term partnerships.”
The Empire partnership is part of a strategic Jones growth plan that has yielded nine consecutive quarters of increased revenues and profitability for the company. That growth has been fueled by factors including bolstering relationships with existing retail partners, expansion into alternative channels, new offerings such as variety packs that help increase basket sizes and drive incremental sales and creative marketing strategies such as topical themed collections and augmented reality labels that have helped raise brand awareness.