Kroger hosts 2nd Natural Foods Innovation Summit

On Thursday Kroger hosted its second Natural Foods Innovation Summit, in partnership with 84.51°, in Cincinnati, Ohio, following the success of its inaugural event last October.

"Kroger's Simple Truth, our brand of natural, organic and free-from products, has achieved $2 billion in annual sales and our organic produce sales have reached $1 billion annually since we hosted our first summit. These are just two examples of our customers' growing desire for clean products – and our ability to deliver for them," Jill McIntosh, vice president natural foods at Kroger, said. "Kroger's Summit is an exciting innovation platform that promotes discussion about natural food trends and provides a stage for emerging brands to get their products in front of our buyers and category managers."

More than 40 brands participated in the initial Summit (see video above), representing different U.S. regions and categories, including snacks, beverages, yogurts, vitamins and supplements, and protein bars and powders.

"New brands and products are key components of Kroger's growth strategy," McIntosh said. "In 2018, Kroger will continue to focus on developing new partnerships at micro and macro levels and sourcing locally and regionally. These are just a few of the ways we are redefining the customer experience as outlined in our Restock Kroger plan."

James Rouse — naturopathic doctor, award-winning author, media personality and speaker — presented at the event.

Kroger's next Natural Foods Innovation Summit will take place in June and the company will participate in the Natural Products Expo West event in March, giving brands the opportunity to pitch their products to a panel of Kroger merchandising leaders and influencers.