Over the past few years retailer Kroger has worked hard to become a place where natural and emerging brands can be successful. At this year’s NOSH Live Alex Trott, merchandising client lead for natural foods at Kroger subsidiary 84.51°, and Katherine Bousson, category manager at Kroger, discussed how the grocery chain has transformed its approach to working with these brands and why it’s been a vital component of the company’s success.
“Kroger about five or six years ago decided to start investing in natural foods in our stores and that has proved to be such a great investment not only for Kroger as a company but also for our customers,” Trott told the audience. “Kroger is really interested in finding those small brands that are going to be huge wins for [us] in the future. And we’re willing to invest from the beginning and start small.”
The quarterly Kroger Summit is one of the key ways the company interacts with emerging brands. Now a year old, the summit brings some of the top brands in the industry to Kroger headquarters to network, learn and meet with category buyers. At NOSH Live, Trott and Bousson gave an inside look into the role the summit plays for the retailer and how brands can find themselves among the select few invited to attend.
The duo also spoke to the attitudes and behaviors of two types of natural shoppers at Kroger — the “naturally essential” consumer and the “naturally mainstream” shopper — including how both groups shop, think about price and making purchasing decisions.