Kroger seeking local seafood suppliers via accelerator program
Grocery retailer Kroger announced it is bringing back its Go Fresh & Local Supplier Accelerator for the second year, seeking out local suppliers for local grocery items, including seafood.
The program, Kroger said, is a way for local businesses to work with the retailer, which operates nearly 2,800 grocery stores in the U.S. Kroger has committed to investing USD 10 billion (EUR 9.5 billion) in diverse suppliers by 2030, and the accelerator program is a “successful way to catapult Kroger closer to that goal,” Kroger Chief Merchant and Marketing Officer Stuart Aitken said.
"Kroger is fully committed to supporting a diverse group of innovative, local suppliers who can bring a great assortment of fresh products to our customers," Aitken said.
Through 23 May, suppliers can apply to be considered for the program, which consists of a two-day event held in Cincinnati, Ohio in August. The company said it is welcoming “growers and producers” in multiple categories, including small producers, “community-inspired and locally relevant items,” regional producers, and more.
In collaboration with ECRM (Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing Company) and RangeMe, Kroger's category management and fresh director team will review the applications in multiple rounds before selecting 30 finalists to attend the event.
Finalists will be given the opportunity to show off products and interact with category managers, leaders and entrepreneurs at various stages throughout the selection process. Then, the top 15 finalists will be invited to present to a panel of Kroger executives, where five winners will be named.
The prize package for those winners includes product placement on shelves within Kroger's Family of Companies, recommended partnerships with sponsors, and business development coaching from Kroger merchandising and sales leaders, Kroger said.
The company ran a similar program last year, and its success is what led the company to bring it back for a second year, Kroger Group Vice President of Fresh Merchandising Dan De La Rosa said.
“Go Fresh and Local cohort brought fresh ideas and innovative new products to the table that blew our judges away," De La Rosa said. "Every single one of last year's cohort has now seen their products on Kroger shelves, helping us bring the tastes and flavors our customers love straight to local stores.”
Image courtesy of Kroger