CINCINNATI, Dec. 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- During the 6th Annual International Forum on Food and Nutrition, The Kroger Co.'s (NYSE: KR) Group Vice President for Corporate Affairs Lynn Marmer discussed the company's efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle and fight obesity.
The forum, held at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy on December 3-4, was sponsored by the Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Foundation, a think tank focused on the links between food and nutrition and other social, environmental and economic issues.
Ms. Marmer outlined the obesity challenge in the United States – where one-third of children eat "Fast Food" every day and 34% of all citizens are obese – and Kroger's efforts to promote healthy living for associates, customers and communities.
Kroger, the sixth-largest employer in the U.S., gives associates a variety of tools to improve their health, including an incentive program with measurable outcomes to improve workplace wellness.
Since 2010, employees participate in annual health screenings that measure blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, body mass index and blood glucose levels. The percentage of associates meeting targets in each of the four areas has increased from 2010 to 2013, demonstrating improvement in the health of Kroger's workforce.
"We want our workforce to be the healthiest in America," said Ms. Marmer. "More of our associates meeting health targets each year shows real progress toward that goal. We know that becoming healthier, both individually and collectively, improves our personal and work lives – and that benefits our customers, too."
Earlier this year, Kroger's workplace well-being program received a 'Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles' award from the National Business Group on Health, and the company's commitment to employee health and wellness was recognized by the American Heart Association.
Healthier Customers and Communities
Kroger uses its economies of scale to increase access to healthy foods for more Americans, through both merchandising and food rescue efforts.
"For nine consecutive years, we have lowered our costs of doing business and reinvested those savings in lower food prices that save our customers more than $3 billion every year," said Ms. Marmer. "More recently, we have invested considerably in lower retail prices on fresh fruits and vegetables in our produce department, especially, which is expanding access to healthy foods for our customers. We are equally committed to caring for our neighbors in need. Our Perishable Donations Partnership contributes millions of pounds of fresh, nutritious items annually to food banks across the country."
Kroger's fresh food rescue program is responsible for 25,000 tons of fresh meat, produce, dairy and bakery items donated to food banks last year, which equates to more than 35 million meals of healthy, perishable food to help feed hungry families.
Kroger, one of the world's largest retailers, employs more than 375,000 associates who serve customers in 2,631 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry's, Harris Teeter, Jay C, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith's. The company also operates 783 convenience stores, 325 fine jewelry stores, 1,293 supermarket fuel centers and 37 food processing plants in the U.S. Recognized by Forbes as the most generous company in America, Kroger supports hunger relief, breast cancer awareness, the military and their families, and more than 30,000 schools and grassroots organizations. Kroger contributes food and funds equal to 200 million meals a year through more than 100 Feeding America food bank partners. A leader in supplier diversity, Kroger is a proud member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber's Million Dollar Club.
SOURCE The Kroger Co.