Kroger Buys Local
Kentucky Department of Agriculture officials met with Kroger executives in the summer of 2014 to discuss a partnership to expand Kentucky Proud products in their stores. The 100% Kentucky Proud Popcorn was one of the initial items mentioned for inclusion, but this initial conversation turned into a major launch involving multiple Kentucky Proud vendors.
When all was said and done, Kroger had agreed to launch 125 new items from 34 Kentucky Proud members. The first order totaled $350,000 and filled 10,000 square feet of warehouse space, making this the largest single transaction in Kentucky Proud's 14-year history.
Kroger already had deep Kentucky roots. The Cincinnati-based corporation, one of the largest supermarket chains in the United States, operates 110 retail stores and three manufacturing plants in Kentucky. Kroger has invested $253 million in capital for new and expanded stores in Kentucky in the past five years.
No stranger to Kentucky Proud and Kentucky producers, Kroger offers 50 varieties of Kentucky-made wine, and in 2013 Kroger bought more than 250,000 cases of fresh, locally grown produce from some 25 Kentucky growers and suppliers. Also that year, Kroger bought more than 35 million pounds of meat from four Kentucky processing plants.
Shoppers in 88 Kroger stores served by Kroger districts in Kentucky can find Kentucky Proud Popcorn, grown by western Kentucky family farmers; Catrina's Kitchen seasoned mixes from founder/owner Catrina Hill of Louisville; Weisenberger Mill mixes from a six-generation family business in Midway; Bloomfield Farms seasoned flour mixes from a multi-generation business in Bardstown that has sourced Kentucky grains for decades; goat's milk soap from Rock Bottom Stables & Soap Co. of Laurel County; and dozens of other fine Kentucky Proud products.