Front of the Kroger store

Kroger Uses Private Label as a Stepping Stone to Sustainability

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Photo Source: Supermarket News

More than ever, consumers are attuned to the impacts of what happens after they’re finished with the food that they buy, specifically the packaging. Because, well, that’s of course all that’s left after we eat what’s inside.

According to Packaging Digest, 68% of consumers are now considering criteria pertaining to sustainability when making a purchasing decision. Groceries are trying to meet these updated consumer criteria in the hopes of aligning with their values now and in the years to come.

It seems tough though, right?

Well, yes. Considering that most of America’s grocers resell other brands, it doesn’t seem feasible to tell Heinz Ketchup, “Hey can you switch out your plastic bottles for something more sustainable? Or else we can’t sell your ketchup on the shelf…” That’s just plain awkward and these groceries might lose a lot of customers (especially Pittsburghers) if they stop offering these staples.

Wait. There is one option…

Groceries can control and manage how their own store brands and private label products are packaged.

Hold up. Why do groceries even offer private labels in the first place?
  • Groceries attain greater profit selling private label.
  • Private label offerings are chosen more often when the economy is suffering (ahem, right now) as their prices are usually lower than premium, brands resold on the shelf. Private label market share already grew 29% since the pandemic began…
  • Private labels allow for the grocery to differentiate themselves. We all know where Kirkland comes from. Right, Costco?
So what does this have to do with Kroger?

The Cincinnati-based grocer announced that it aims to achieve 100% recyclable, compostable and/or reusable packaging for all of their store brands (see below) by 2030. I’d say that’s a solid way to differentiate yourself using your private label.

According to WSJ, Kroger also plans to make physical space in their stores for their partnership with Loop

Yes but how will this work?

Kroger will be one of the first grocers to design a corner in their stores where designated products are displayed for purchase in refillable, Loop containers. Consumers can pick and choose products (ice cream, shampoo, cleaning supplies) as they would normally, take them home, and return the containers back the next time they hit the store.

Returned containers are then sent back to Loop for refill via Kroger and voilà, we have a circular economy.

Loop displays to be in stores

Source: AEON, reported by WSJ

The day we see one of these displays activated in-stores will be an exciting day for not only Kroger and Loop, but for consumers nationwide who have been yearning to implement zero-waste grocery shopping into their lifestyles.

with love for the planet,

the sustennial

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