Kroger announced the opening of a new “culinary innovation center” in downtown Cincinnati. The company broke ground on the 12,000-square-foot LEED-designed facility last march. The center is a state-of-the-art, sustainable test kitchen and education center focused on developing talent and accelerating product development for Kroger brands, as well as for its Prep + Prepared Meal Kits.
Zero waste: Kroger aims to ultimately meet and exceed EPA’s Zero Waste threshold of 90% diversion from landfill in its facilities by 2020. In 2016, Kroger reached a diversion rate of 78% across its operations, up from 70% in 2015. And as with most major food manufacturers and retailers, the company is also focusing on reducing food waste, with a hierarchy, beginning with reducing food at the source and followed by food waste being recycled (feed for animals, industrial uses, and composting) and “feeding hungry people” (Kroger says it has donated 69 million pounds of food from stores.
In 2016, 31 of its 33 corporately managed manufacturing plants were designated as “zero waste” facilities. The plants recycled more than 600 million pounds of material in 2016, a diversion rate of 99%.
Supply chain: The company is also focusing on mitigating risk by ensuring continued availability of important items in its supply chain. By 2020, Kroger says it will source 100% of its wild-caught seafood from fisheries that are Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified, in MSC full assessment, in comprehensive Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs), or certified by other GSSI?recognized programs. Kroger is currently sourcing 86% of its wild-caught fresh and frozen species by volume under these criteria. Kroger will continue to work with WWF to support its FIP program through funding, sourcing and supplier engagement.