Kroger creates accelerator program fresh food producers

Kroger creates accelerator program for fresh food producers

Kroger creates accelerator program for fresh food producers

Kroger has announced the Go Fresh & Local Supplier Accelerator, a new partnership program inviting U.S. growers and producers to apply for the opportunity to work with the retailer.

The company says the will enable it to discover new suppliers to support the continued expansion of its fresh departments – including produce, deli, bakery, meat, seafood, dairy, specialty cheeses, and floral.

Starting on May 12 and through May 31, suppliers can apply to join the Go Fresh & Local Supplier Accelerator, which will be held in Cincinnati in August. In collaboration with Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing and RangeMe, Kroger's category management and fresh director team will review applications in multiple rounds, selecting 15 finalists (one finalist per region per category) to attend the event.

All finalists will present to a panel of judges during a pitch session, with one overall winner selected from each region.

The prize package for the five overall winners includes product placement on shelf within Kroger's Family of Companies; recommended partnerships with Gourmet Foods International; and business development coaching from Kroger merchandising and sales leaders as well as PearlRock Partners CEO Brian Kelley, a 30-year consumer product industry veteran and former president of Keurig Green Mountain and Coca-Cola Refreshments.

"At Kroger, our Fresh for Everyone mission is anchored in consistently and creatively providing fresh and affordable food to our customers," said Dan De La Rosa, Kroger's group vice president of fresh merchandising.

"We're dedicated to fostering innovation and investing in local, regional, and small businesses that make the best of food accessible to all. Our first Go Fresh & Local Supplier Accelerator is an extension of our commitment and we're eager to invite suppliers of every size to participate, providing the potential to grow our businesses together."

Kroger welcomes growers and producers to apply to the relevant regional categories below, in alignment with the regional versus local grouping criteria. 

"Kroger is committed to offering the best assortment of fresh products enabled by an innovative portfolio of suppliers. In 2020 alone, we invested $4.1 billion in diverse suppliers — a 21% increase versus the previous year — and we're working with intention to scale that number to $10 billion by 2030," said Stuart Aitken, Kroger's chief merchant and marketing officer. "

The Go Fresh & Local Supplier Accelerator will help us achieve our goal as well as advance our freshness commitment in our nearly 2,800 stores and across our Kroger.com e-commerce services, including Pickup, Delivery, and Ship."