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Kroger kicks off 2nd Go Fresh & Local Supplier Accelerator program     

Kroger is inviting local and regional growers and producers to apply for its second annual accelerator program.

For the second year, Kroger is kicking off its Go Fresh & Local Supplier Accelerator, a program designed to enhance and accelerate the selection of local items sold in the Kroger Family of Companies.

The program provides a pathway to entry for local businesses of all sizes by allowing American-based growers and producers the chance to work directly with the retailer.

Through the Supplier Accelerator, Kroger is continuing to expand its fresh departments — including produce, deli, bakery, meat, seafood, dairy, specialty cheese and floral — and commitment to being Fresh for Everyone.

[Read more: Kroger looking to fill 20K positions]

Through May 23 at 11:59 p.m. PDT, suppliers can apply to be considered for the Go Fresh & Local Supplier Accelerator, a two-day event in Cincinnati this August. In collaboration with ECRM and RangeMe, Kroger's category management and fresh director team will review applications in multiple rounds, selecting 30 finalists to attend the event. Finalists will have the opportunity to show off their products and interact with category managers, leaders and entrepreneurs at various stages throughout the selection process.

The top 15 finalists will be invited to present at a panel of Kroger executives where five winners will be named. The prize package for those winners includes product placement on shelf within Kroger's Family of Companies, recommended partnerships with sponsors, and business development coaching from Kroger merchandising and sales leaders.

"Kroger is fully committed to supporting a diverse group of innovative, local suppliers who can bring a great assortment of fresh products to our customers," said Stuart Aitken, Kroger's chief merchant and marketing officer. "Kroger committed to investing $10 billion in diverse suppliers by 2030, and the Go Fresh & Local Supplier Accelerator is a successful way to catapult Kroger closer to that goal. We are excited to meet this year's suppliers who will help us advance our commitment to fresh in our nearly 2,800 stores."

[Read more: Kroger adds fulfillment center in Ohio]

Kroger welcomes growers and producers to apply to the relevant categories below:

- Local:

  • Small producers;
  • Located in state or the immediate market;
  • Community-inspired and locally relevant items; and
  • Merchandised in less than approximately 100 stores.

- Regional:

  • Larger producers;
  • Cross state and division boundaries;
  • Still locally relevant to customers; and
  • Merchandised in approximately 100 or more stores.

"Last year, the Go Fresh and Local cohort brought fresh ideas and innovative new products to the table that blew our judges away," said Dan De La Rosa, Kroger's group vice president of fresh merchandising. "Every single one of last year's cohort has now seen their products on Kroger shelves, helping us bring the tastes and flavors our customers love straight to local stores. We look forward to building on last year's success and are excited to bring in new suppliers to participate in the opportunity to join the Kroger family."

To apply and learn more about the Go Fresh & Local Supplier Accelerator, visit here.

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