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Kroger has started experimenting fast online grocery deliveries in two stores within the Cincinnati region.

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Kroger partners with Loop, a circular ecommerce platform developed by TerraCycle, to advance its zero-waste vision by reducing the usage of single-use plastics.

100+ products from leading brands

The new partnership means that Kroger and Loop will pilot a new reusable packaging system that enables customers in select markets to buy more than 100 products which come in a reusable packaging. Manufacturer partners include P&G, Nestle and Unilever, while UPS will act as the delivery partner.

Jessica Adelman, Kroger’s group VP of corporate affairs said: “Our commitment to innovative solutions on our path to Zero Hunger | Zero Waste aligns perfectly with Loop’s mission to create a convenient circular-packaging platform for consumers. Customers are increasingly seeking out sustainable products and services that fit their lifestyle. As the exclusive grocery retail partner for Loop in the U.S., Kroger is taking another big step toward a world with zero waste.”

How does it work?

The initial phase of the pilot will enable consumers in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Washington, D.C to order the products available on the Loop website or Loop partner retailers' websites. The products are then shipped directly to consumers in a reusable tote that features an external tamper seal. Once used, customers can place the empty packaging into the tote and have it picked up for free. The packaging is then cleaned, refilled and reused, hence creating a circular packaging system. In addition, consumers have also the choice of scheduling automated refills.

Source: Loop

A potential in-store Loop experience

Based on the consumer’s feedback of this new system, Kroger and Loop envisage creating an in-store Loop experience which will be located in a Kroger store.

Zero Hunger | Zero Waste plan

Kroger’s partnership with Loop is seen as a major boost to its Zero Hunger | Zero Waste plan, which aims to reduce single-use plastics. Indeed, Kroger was the first grocer to commit to eliminating single-use plastic bags from its stores by 2025. It is also optimising its private label packaging as a part of its 2020 sustainability goals.

It’s important to note that Loop has launched last week a similar partnership with Carrefour serving Paris, and involves more than 25 manufacturers.

Check out our resilient and responsive hub for more sustainability related news

Driverless grocery delivery has been officially rolled out in Houston thanks to a partnership with robotics company Nuro.

Second city to trial the technology

After a successful trial in Scottsdale, Arizona, Houston becomes the second area to pilot the service. The new delivery service will be initially available from its South Post Oak store before being extended to its Buffalo Speedway store later this spring.

According to the Houston Business Journal, Kroger has already pinpointed between 12 and 14 additional stores where the service can be potentially implemented.

To start with, a self-driving manual Toyota Prius fleet will be used before introducing later this year Nuro’s custom driverless delivery vehicles. $5.95 is what customers would have to pay for same-day and next-day deliveries. No minimum order is required, and groceries must be collected directly by customers from the vehicle along the pavement.

Kroger has already been pushing forward with automated last mile trials. Check out the build-up to this implementation.

Kroger will open its second Customer Fulfilment Centre (CFC), as part of its strategic partnership with UK-based Ocado, in Groveland, Lake County, Florida.

Entering the market with an ecommerce-only model

Kroger announced in February that one of its first three CFCs would be in Florida, with other sites being developed in Ohio and the Mid-Atlantic region. The decision to site one of the CFCs in Florida is particularly interesting because the retailer does not currently operate any stores in the state. However, it does have a strategic relationship with Lucky’s Market which has been expanding at pace in the region.

Source: Kroger

Will determine feasibility of operating in the north east

Last year, Kroger formed a strategic partnership with Ocado to develop up to 20 CFCs. These will support the growth of its grocery ecommerce business which currently includes store pickup, same-day delivery in partnership with Instacart and a two-day consumables shipping programme, Kroger Ship. The 375,000 sq ft site in Florida is expected to become operational in 2021. The success of an ecommerce-only model in the state will determine where else the retailer could penetrate without opening any physical stores. The high density, yet competitive, north east is likely to be within the retailer’s sights.

Different models under development

Kroger is adopting a relatively unique approach to ecommerce fulfilment in the US through its Ocado partnership. Several other models are being piloted as retailers seek to build a cost optimal solution. Walmart, Ahold Delhaize and Albertsons are piloting hyper-local robotic fulfilment while most US grocers are partnering with third-party crowd-sourced delivery platforms for same-day delivery. Instacart, the leading operator in this space, will start to roll-out a store pickup model this year. With the channel forecast to hit $60bn by 2023, building a profitable and scalable model is critical for retailers aiming to maximise the sales growth opportunity.


The Kroger Co. is partnering with Nuro, a maker of fully unmanned vehicles, to pilot on-road, autonomous delivery vehicles.
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