Is the time right for Kroger to go hyper-local?
Kroger recently launched a new website, Kroger.Com/WeAreLocal, to more loudly broadcast its local goods and invite more local suppliers to work with the grocery giant.
The release of Kroger.Com/WeAreLocal came out on Sept. 22, one day after a Wall Street Journal article reported that Whole Foods was accelerating its shift to more centralized buying under Amazon’s ownership while also eliminating brand reps from selling floors. Whole Foods was already said to be moving toward less regional buying for efficiency reasons earlier in the year.
Kroger’s statement on the microsite launch underscored its commitment to local vendors.
“Our business has a track record of successfully blending centralized and decentralized decision making to promote local products while also enjoying economies of scale,” said Mike Donnelly, Kroger’s EVP of merchandising and procurement. “Since Kroger’s day one, we have had a longstanding, 365-day-a-year commitment to support and source from local farmers, ranchers, food producers, wineries, breweries and product makers. There are tastes and products that are unique to every region.”
Kroger.Com/WeAreLocal site includes three sections:
- Join Our Family of Suppliers: Prospective suppliers can self-register to become a partner and view information on data, EDI and other requirements.
- Discover local: Consumers can learn about the local farms Kroger works with as well as many of the labels, such as “Arizona Grown,” showcased in stores.
- Sourcing Locally Helps Support Zero Hunger and Zero Waste: Kroger discusses its commitment to ending hunger in the communities in which it operates and eliminating food waste within the company by 2025. This section also talks up the sustainability benefit of reducing transportation through regional sourcing.
Taking another dig at the new attention brought to Whole Foods and perhaps to Walmart, Kroger stated that it has “led the way for over a decade” in making local, natural and organic products “more affordable and accessible” for Americans as evidenced by its successful Simple Truth brand. Said Mr. Donnelly, “There are a lot of headlines about making local, natural and organic foods more affordable. The truth is, we’ve always been affordable.”
A Whole Foods spokesperson emphasized to the Journal that local suppliers and products would remain “crucial” to its mix.
- Kroger Launches Kroger.Com/WeAreLocal, Invites Local Suppliers to Join the Kroger Family of Companies – Kroger
- New Kroger site highlights local and emerging brands – “We Are Local” initiative seeks new suppliers – Supermarket News
- As Amazon takes Whole Foods national, Kroger thinks local – CNBC
- Will centralized buying make Whole Foods a more formidable competitor? – RetailWire
- Amazon Puts Whole Foods on Fast Track to Conventional Supermarket – The Wall Street Journal
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think of Kroger’s plan to emphasize and build on its local assortments? Is this an approach that you think will resonate more deeply with consumers in the next few years?