Friday, March 6, 2020

Has Kroger Founded in 1902 Lost its Way?

After a failed test of a new fresh grocery concept store Main & Vine that did not resonate with consumers, at a cost reported to be over $12 Million.  Kroger is now throwing in the towel on a ‘convenience concept’ small-concept store Fresh Eats MKT, that was once again clearly not convenient or fresh enough.
Foodservice Solutions®, Tacoma, WA based Grocerant Guru®, Steven Johnson wondered out-loud how could a company that’s been in business since 1902 not understand the undercurrents driving change in the grocery sector today?  Here is what Johnson thinks they don’t get:
1.      12,000 square feet is not a small concept in the minds-eye of the consumer,
2.      Fresh Food Fast must be sold at ‘fast food pace and price,
3.      Grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat food is not a CPG product,
4.      Mix & Match meal component bundling’s shelf life in not 7 days’
5.      Food & Beverage branded marketing integration with fuel pumps requires that all consumers touchpoints are integrated.
When Mike Schlotman, then executive vice president and chief financial officer, described Fresh Eats MKT as “a different kind of a convenience store.” Clearly, he meant short lived. Clearly reading from a ‘PR’ playbook a Kroger spokesperson said in a statement, “From the pilot, we have learned many things about how to provide quality, fresh and new foods to our customers. We will incorporate these learning's in other parts of our business.”
All that said, Kroger one think is clear, Kroger wants to sell yesterday’s consumer, yesterday’s staples.  Well that might just work during the coronavirus conundrum confusing customers.  However, that will be short lived and consumers will move on.  Our question is will Kroger be the next A&P closing, brands, shuttering concepts and spinning investors for the next 10 years or 20 years?
Do slotting fees play a big role in your food retail operation?  Do your stores look more like yesterday than tomorrow? Is basket size a more important metric than customer frequency?  Are consumers in your aisles more often this year?
Invite Foodservice Solutions® to complete a Grocerant Program Assessment, Grocerant ScoreCard, or for product positioning or placement assistance, or call our Grocerant Guru®.  Since 1991  of Tacoma, WA has been the global leader in the Grocerant niche. Contact: or 253-759-7869

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