CINCINNATI, Oct. 12, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) today is hosting its first natural foods innovation summit, in partnership with 84.51°, in Cincinnati, Ohio with keynote speaker Joy Bauer, MS, RD, CDN.
"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."
Top trends in natural foods are holistic health, convenience and sustainability. Consumer insights show that customers are adopting a 360-degree approach to health and wellness, including greater consumption of natural foods to prevent illnesses. A growing number of customers are seeking healthier on-the-go snacks and meals, and nutritional drinks are increasingly becoming meal replacements.
Kroger's team of buyers continuously look for opportunities to purchase regionally that allow the company to expand its product portfolio for customers, stimulate the local economy and enhance product freshness. Sourcing locally also supports the company's sustainability commitments, including Kroger's Zero Hunger | Zero Waste initiative launched last month. Recently, Kroger joined the Sustainable Packaging Coalition®, a membership-based collaborative of like-minded companies striving to advance sustainable packaging.
"Kroger is leading the way to redefine the food and grocery customer experience as one part of our Restock Plan announced yesterday in New York at our annual investor conference. Customer lifestyles are evolving, and as America's grocer, we understand the importance of carrying relevant products at affordable prices that are meaningful to the nearly nine million customers we serve daily in our family of stores," Ms. McIntosh added.
Kroger will begin to host Natural Foods Innovation Summit events a few times per year. Local and natural foods brands can visit Kroger.Com/WeAreLocal to learn how to join Kroger's family of suppliers.
At The Kroger Co., we are dedicated to our purpose: to Feed the Human Spirit™. We are 450,000 associates who serve nearly nine million customers daily in 2,793 retail food stores under a variety of local banner names in 35 states and the District of Columbia. Our Family of Companies operates an expanding ClickList offering – a personalized order online service – in addition to 2,258 pharmacies, 783 convenience stores, 307 fine jewelry stores, 222 retail health clinics, 1,472 supermarket fuel centers and 38 food production plants in the United States. Our Company has been recognized as one of America's most generous companies for our support of more than 100 Feeding America food bank partners, breast cancer research and awareness, the military and their families, and more than 145,000 community organizations including schools. As a leader in supplier diversity, we are a proud member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable.
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SOURCE The Kroger Co.