Kroger hosted its first Natural Foods Innovation Summit in partnership with 84.51°, in Cincinnati, Ohio on Oct. 12 with plans to hold similar summits a few times each year. The company invited local and natural foods brands to explore options with them through its We Are Local campaign.
“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,” McIntosh added.
The company’s announcement came soon after it unveiled its ‘Restock Kroger’ plan at the annual investor conference in New York that involves redefining the food and customer experience through digital and technology, expanding partnerships to create customer value, developing talent and creating social impact.
During the meeting, Kroger also revealed it was exploring the sale of its convenience store business. It has 784 convenience stores across 18 states, operating under KwikShop and QuickStop with 11,000 employees. The business generated $4 billion in 2016 and sold 1.2 billion gallons of fuel.