CINCINNATI — The Kroger Co. has named five new and emerging brands as winners of its second annual Go Fresh & Local Supplier Accelerator.
The program provides an opportunity for businesses of all sizes to work directly with the grocery retailer as it expands its fresh departments, including produce, deli, bakery, meat, seafood, dairy and specialty cheeses, and represents part of Kroger’s broader commitment to invest $10 billion in diverse suppliers by 2030. Winning companies receive product placement on shelves in-store and online at Kroger’s family of stores, as well as business development and coaching opportunities from sponsors including Gourmet Foods International and DPI Specialty Foods.
Kroger received more than 1,600 applications. Fifteen finalists were selected to attend a two-day event held in Cincinnati to interact with category managers, merchandising directors and leaders and present to a panel of Kroger executives in a pitch competition.
Winners of the 2022 Go Fresh & Local Accelerator are Coro Foods, Kent, Wash., a charcuterie company; The Ugly Co., Kingsburg, Calif., which transforms imperfect fruits into dried fruit snacks; Hiatus, Baltimore, a maker of premium cheesecakes; J. Berry Nursery & Genetics, Grand Saline, Texas, a grower of high-value plants, including hibiscus, crape myrtles and begonias; and Zacca Hummus, Boise, Idaho, a maker of traditional-style Mediterranean hummus.
“We are thrilled to welcome this year’s Go Fresh & Local cohort to our extraordinary portfolio of fresh local and regional suppliers,” said Dan De La Rosa, group vice president of fresh merchandising. “Go Fresh & Local was created to bring the best, most innovative, and freshest local and regional products from new and diverse small businesses to our customers across the US. This innovative group surpassed our expectations at every step. Their commitment to excellence and the unique blend of products they’ve created will help us expand our local footprint and deliver on our mission of being Fresh for Everyone.”Winners of the inaugural cohort were Maazah, a maker of Afghan-style chutney; Nona Lim, a brand of refrigerated Asian noodle kits; Queen Charlotte’s Pimento Cheese Royale, a producer of premium pimento cheese; Simply Southern Sides, which offers a line of spice and seasoning mixes for homemade soul food; and Soupergirl, a maker of heat-and-eat soups, chilis and gazpacho.