Initiatives like supporting local farmers and restaurants is nothing new for Kroger. Cincinnati-area stores, for example, feature popular items from local eateries like Eli’s BBQ, Queen City Whip, O Pie O, and others. But in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Kroger has placed an even greater emphasis on supporting the community. “We’ve been trying to focus on our local companies as much as possible,” says Kroger’s Corporate Affairs Manager Erin Rolfes. “We’re just looking for ways to help our partners, especially since this is a really challenging time for everybody.” From stocking the shelves with environmentally friendly produce to featuring grab-and-go dinners from local restaurants, here are three ways Kroger is supporting the community and local food system.
Kroger supports local farmers and sustainable practices.
Have you ever noticed the large signage above the produce section in your local Kroger? These boards highlight the products shelved at each location that are grown by local farmers. Supporting local growers not only helps the surrounding community, but it also reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and transporting goods, Rolfes says. One of the farms that downtown’s Kroger On the Rhine partners with is 80 Acres, which is a hydroponic farm that grows produce year-round using vertical gardening and 100 percent renewable energy. Rolfes says Kroger is working to expand the partnership to other stores. The name of the farm doesn’t correlate to how much land they have, but how much produce they grow. Their shipping containers grow 80 acres worth of produce using LED lights powered by hydroelectric energy. “Not only do you get fresh food from them year-round, it’s done in an eco-friendly way,” Rolfes says. “It has a really low impact on the environment.” 80 Acres items you’ll find at Kroger include salad greens, herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers, and more.
Kroger rotates in-store restaurant pop-ups.
As the pandemic continues to impact small businesses, especially those in the restaurant industry, Kroger has stepped in to support local restaurants in its stores. “We’ve been working with local restaurants to give them the opportunity to sell their food in our stores,” Rolfes says. “We have pre-packed food; one of my favorites is Court Street Lobster Bar.” Each restaurant staffs the table for a few hours at a time offering grab-and-go dinners, snacks, and desserts—like treats from The Cheesecakery. The pop-ups are a hit, Rolfes says, and Kroger plans to continue adding new partnerships to set up in store.
Kroger highlights local food products in each store.
Kroger stocks a dedicated section of local products in every store. You’ll find fan favorites like Grippo’s Bar-B-Q Potato Chips and Montgomery Inn Barbecue Sauce, plus new local staples like Grateful Grahams cookies and snacks. Next time you’re shopping, grab a bag of snacks from your favorite local brand or try something new!