Kroger Debuts Marketing For Its Organic Foods Line

The Kroger Co., one of the nation's largest retail grocery chains, is wasting no time in launching marketing for its new organic foods line, announced in August.

The latest 19-page Kroger "mymagazine" currently being sent to Kroger Plus loyalty card members is dedicated to organics.

Kroger spokesperson Meghan Glynn confirms the mailer was sent out to coincide with and promote the expanded line of store-brand Private Selection Organics. She would not reveal how many consumers received the magazines or how they were selected. "We don't release specifics regarding marketing efforts," she said. "I can tell you there are other advertising initiatives around this on regional levels."

The front of the magazine says "Organics--Green and Growing," and the back has the tagline "Organically Yours ..." The glossy includes articles, recipes and coupons. The lead article is written by Nancy Moon-Eilers, Kroger's vice president/natural foods procurement and merchandising. The article, "Wholesome shortcuts: Organics go convenient for a quicker fix," provides tips on how to easily incorporate organic foods into the daily diet.



There is also an article by Cincinnati, Ohio-based Kroger CEO Dave Dillon called "Green is good," which details how all of the Kroger stores are becoming more earth-friendly. Some examples of initiatives include conservation training for associates about good energy habits, recycling and waste reduction, and finally, more efficient lighting in the stores.

Most of the coupons--valued at more than $12--are for the new organic Private Selection items, but there are also coupons for Kroger's original "Naturally Preferred" products, as well as national brands: Cascadian Farm, Horizon and FruitaBu.

Kroger's expanded organics line is being sold under its Private Selection store brand and initially includes 65 products such as pasta, waffles, tea, peanut butter, snacks and milk. Most products will be available in Kroger's family of stores by the end of September. The new items will be placed throughout the store, not segregated into the existing natural food section in some stores. Kroger expects to double its Private Selection brand organics by the end of the year.

The products carry the USDA Organic Certified seal, assuring that at least 95% of the ingredients used are organic. The seal means the products are free from antibiotics and growth hormones, and have no added artificial preservatives or chemicals.

The Organic Trade Association says that while organic foods comprised less than 3 percent of total food sales in 2006, annual percentage sales growth in the past decade has been in the high teens into the 20s, up to $16.7 billion.

Kroger's expanded Private Selection Organic line is offered in addition to the company's Naturally Preferred natural and organic foods line, introduced five years ago. Kroger and its family of stores offer more than 300 Naturally Preferred brand items, including baby food, cereal, snacks and soy products. These products are minimally processed and use all natural and organic ingredients. They contain no artificial colors, preservatives or flavors. Many of these products are also organic, and contain ingredients that are certified organically grown and free of herbicides and pesticides.

At the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2007, Kroger operated (either directly or through its subsidiaries) 2,458 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states under two dozen local banners, including Kroger and Kroger Marketplace, Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Food 4 Less, King Soopers, Smith's and Smith's Marketplace, Fry's and Fry's Marketplace, Dillon, QFC and City Market.

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