The Kroger Co. and Walgreens today announced two initiatives, building on the exploratory pilot the retailers announced in October, combining Kroger’s food and grocery authority with Walgreens expertise in pharmacy, health and beauty.

Robert Clark, senior vice president of merchandising, Kroger

“We are redefining the customer experience in a variety of ways through Restock Kroger, including innovative partnerships like our test-and-learn pilot with Walgreens. We are excited to enter the next phase of the pilot,” said Robert Clark, Kroger’s senior vice president of merchandising. “The Kroger Express concept creates easy access to our most popular Our Brands (private brands) products through a fill-in grocery shopping experience for Walgreens customers, and our Home Chef Express meal kits provide customers with an on-demand solution for tonight’s dinner.”

“We’re pleased to continue working together to explore new concepts that expand product selection to provide a better shopping experience and greater value for our customers,” said Richard Ashworth, Walgreens president of operations.Kroger Express Coming to Walgreens
Kroger Express—a curated assortment of 2,300 products, selected using customer data and insights provided by Kroger subsidiary 84.51°—will soon be offered at the 13 Walgreens test stores in Northern Kentucky, near Kroger’s Cincinnati headquarters. The Kroger Express selection will include Home Chef meal kits, national products and Kroger private brand products, highlighting America’s largest natural and organic brand Simple Truth, along with dairy, meat, produce, frozen and meal solutions.

The first concept is operational in Florence, Kentucky. The remaining 12 pilot stores will be operational early next year.

As announced in October, the participating pilot stores are offering a one-stop shopping experience where customers can access products from both brands and order groceries on kroger.com for pickup at Walgreens. Kroger Express marks an expansion of the original offering.

Today also marks the launch of Home Chef Express meal kits in 65 Walgreens locations in the Chicago area. Kroger acquired Home Chef in May 2018.

The new offering enhances the reach of Home Chef’s Express products, already available at certain Kroger Family of Stores, including select Mariano’s stores in the Chicago area. During the pilot, Walgreens will offer three unique Home Chef Express meal kit options, with recipes rotating bi-weekly. Other recipes are available for delivery through homechef.com, where shoppers can find additional weekly variety.

Each meal serves two and starts at $8.50 per serving.

“Customers have responded favorably to the retail meal kits at our Mariano’s stores in the market and other Kroger Family of Stores located in different cities. The Walgreens expansion provides more Chicagoans convenient access to a quick, simple meal,” added Clark.

“Making Home Chef Express meals available at Walgreens is another way Home Chef is making meal time easy,” said Pat Vihtelic, Home Chef CEO and founder. “The Express recipes, which cook in 15 minutes, are meals anyone can cook and everyone will love.”

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Christopher Durham
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.