Fifteen growers and producers from five regions around the country will be selected to attend the accelerator program, which will take place in Cincinnati, Ohio, in August. Suppliers can apply to the accelerator from now until May 31. A panel of judges will select one winner from each region at the event, following a pitch presentation from each finalist, according to the release.
The five winners will have their products stocked on Kroger company store shelves and receive business development coaching and recommended partnerships with Gourmet Foods International, which is sponsoring the program, the release stated.
“We’re dedicated to fostering innovation and investing in local, regional and small businesses that make the best of food accessible to all,” said Kroger Group Vice President of Fresh Merchandising Dan De La Rosa in the release. “Our first Go Fresh & Local Supplier Accelerator is an extension of our commitment, and we’re eager to invite suppliers of every size to participate, providing the potential to grow our businesses together.”
Expanding their supplier and producer partners is crucial right now for grocers, both small and large, who are still trying to come to grips with increased demand created by the stay-at-home trends of the pandemic and surge in online grocery shipping. The demand had created inventory challenges as stores muddle through having enough produce and a diverse-enough selection.
This accelerator program will help Kroger grow and diversify its supplier base, according to the release.
“In 2020 alone, we invested $4.1 billion in diverse suppliers — a 21 percent increase versus the previous year — and we’re working with intention to scale that number to $10 billion by 2030,” said Kroger Chief Merchant and Marketing Officer Stuart Aitken in the release.
Kroger splits suppliers into five regions based on its regional stores and small chains. Region one includes several chains on the West Coast; region two includes chains in the Rocky Mountains, Arizona and Kansas; region three spreads across Texas and Nashville; and regions four and five cover the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic areas of the U.S., the release stated.
May 12, 2021 at 11:25PM