Kroger Hosts 2nd Natural Foods Innovation Summit

Today, Cincinnati based grocer Kroger hosted its second Natural Foods Innovation Summit, in partnership with consumer analytics firm 84.51°, following the success of its inaugural event last October. Dr. James Rouse—naturopathic doctor, award-winning author, media personality, and speaker—presented at the event.

“Kroger’s Simple Truth, our (private) brand of natural, organic and free-from products, has achieved $2 billion in annual sales and our organic produce sales have reached $1 billion annually since we hosted our first summit. These are just two examples of our customers’ growing desire for clean products – and our ability to deliver for them,” said Jill McIntosh, Kroger’s vice president of natural foods. “Kroger’s Summit is an exciting innovation platform that promotes discussion about natural food trends and provides a stage for emerging brands to get their products in front of our buyers and category managers.”

More than 40 brands participated in the initial Summit, representing different U.S. regions and categories, including snacks, beverages, yogurts, vitamins and supplements, and protein bars and powders.

“New brands and products are key components of Kroger’s growth strategy,” added Ms. McIntosh. “In 2018, Kroger will continue to focus on developing new partnerships at micro and macro levels and sourcing locally and regionally. These are just a few of the ways we are redefining the customer experience as outlined in our Restock Kroger plan.”

Kroger’s next Natural Foods Innovation Summit will take place in June and the company will participate in the Natural Products Expo West event in March, giving brands the opportunity to pitch their products to a panel of Kroger merchandising leaders and influencers.

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Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.