Summer 2018: Kroger’s Top Food Trends

Here are the top Kroger food trends of summer 2018 to watch out for and enjoy.

1 – Snacking that’s Better for You

With a busy summer, consider raising your standards for on-the-go snacking especially when out and about during road trips, soirees, and picnics. You can take your pick from hydrating with the new sparkling coconut water, fun twists on seltzers, and healthy snack bars. You can choose from Kroger’s Simple Truth Date Bars, Simple Truth Seltzer waters, or Simple Truth Sparkling Coconut Water.

2 – Alcohol Flavored Foods

Summer brings together families and friends to enjoy the sunshine outside and partake in good food. And what better way to imbibe on alcohol without the side effects of being tipsy? Enjoy alcohol-infused food and flavors, of course! Enjoy booze-infused eats, bourbon-infused cola, and even wine-infused steak sauce. Check out Brown Butter Bourbon Truffle Ice Cream to beat the heat or Private Selection Wine Infused Steak Sauces to add oomph to your BBQ parties!

3 – International Flavor

Gustatory delights are just around the corner with new and exciting flavors all over the world. Delight your senses and palate from African Peri Peri to Korean inspired sauces. Try Kroger’s General Tso’s Chicken Potato Chips, Private Selection Wing Sauces, and Private Selection 24-Hr Marinated Jerky to name a few.

4 – Comfort Food

Get nostalgic and remember your childhood days with traditional dishes reinvented to wow your palate. Now that you are a grown-up, you also want to try grown-up renditions of old-school soda pop flavors, pimento cheeses, and even mac & cheese. Interested? Try out Kroger Real Sugar Sodas, Private Selection Mac & Cheese sauces and Kroger Deluxe Ice Cream.

5 – Cocktails and Meals—No Waste

What does that even mean? Well, America is widely known to be wasteful, and to minimize food waste, this is the solution to the dilemma. Did you know that 40% of the food produced each year in this country goes to waste? And did you also know that 1 out of 8 American is hungry? To combat this, consumers are getting more creative when it comes to repurposing ingredients, storing food to extend freshness, buying only what you need, meal planning, and even getting inventive with leftovers.

6 – Flexitarian Lifestyle

Flexitarian is a person who is primarily a vegetarian but sometimes eats fish or meat. It was noted that flexitarian practices are in the trend where people tend to eat vegetables as a significant part of their diet. However, they also enjoy poultry, fish, meat, and dairy on occasions. However, with the innovation in the food industry, there’s so many to choose from the meat-free and dairy-free alternatives that ooze with flavorful enjoyment with each bite. With these options, buyers can have a better-for-me and flexible decisions due to the options available. Kroger choices can be Simple Truth Meatless Crispy Tenders, Simple Truth Meatless Stuffed Cutlets, and Simple Truth Meatless Patties and Crumbles to name a few.

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Kroger Looks to Natural Brands for Innovation

Project Nosh reported on Kroger’s first natural innovation summit last month. The U.S.’s largest grocery retailer with 2,778 locations is looking to growing natural brands for innovation. The summit brought 50 of the best up and coming natural brands to their headquarters in Cinncinati, Ohio.

Kroger Natural Innovation Summit

The summit was held during the first week of October with a presentation from Jill McIntosh, VP of Merchanding for Natural Foods at Kroger, to kick off the first day.

“I thought of the idea because I wanted to bring a Natural Foods show to our Kroger category managers and invite some new and innovative brands to Cincinnati…Bringing the mountain to Mohammed, I guess.”
– Jill McIntosh

After Jill’s presentation, the summit featured 50 of the natural brands in a mini-trade show format. The natural brands were hand picked by VMG Partners, Harlow, and 84.51 degrees. For this first summit, Kroger wanted to focus on brands in water, fitness, yogurt, and packaged snacks.

“The brand selection committee prioritized high growth emerging wellness brands that have a proven sales velocity track record outside of Kroger, that were under-indexing in sales at Kroger. The event wasn’t focused on brands that don’t yet have a track record of sales velocity success elsewhere. The goal is help Kroger maximize their batting average as it relates to wellness emerging brands.”
– Wayne Wu, Managing Partner of VMG Partners

Key Takeaways From the Summit

The summit’s goal is the benefit both the brands and Kroger’s category managers. By bringing the brands to one place, this enables all of their buyers to be able to meet with the top brands and have more one on one discussions. The brands love the opportunity to connect with a specific retail customer in a more calm environment that trade shows like Expo West, Fancy Food Show, etc.

Kroger knows its business is moving towards more organic and natural foods, so the summit is an excellent fit in helping them push their “Restock Kroger” initiative. Kroger is leading the way in integrating their natural aisle with the conventional aisles so that both types of buyers become one.

“We have basically combined our natural with our conventional category management. Which makes sense as we want our category managers, when it comes to looking at a category, to know everything about it, not just the natural side or the conventional side but to be the subject matter expert over the total category. The customers are shopping that way more and more and we want to make it easy for our customer. So we’re mixing it up… As we integrate teams we’re able to integrate sales planning, ad, display and store formats.”
– Jill McIntosh

It will be interesting to see how the summit impacts the growth of innovative brands into Kroger’s massive retail chain.

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