In this file:


·         Kroger to form consumer brand incubator

·         Kroger's New Ready-to-Heat Meal Kits Are TV Dinners for Millennials



Kroger to form consumer brand incubator

Partnership with Lindsay Goldberg to drive data-driven investments


Russell Redman, Supermarket News

May 14, 2019


Pushing ahead with its alternative business strategy, The Kroger Co. has teamed with private investment firm Lindsay Goldberg to form an incubator for next-generation consumer product brands.


Called PearlRock Partners, the platform will identify, invest in and help grow emerging consumer product companies and be one of the largest data-driven investment vehicles focused on consumer brands, the companies said late Tuesday.


“We are excited to add PearlRock Partners to our portfolio of high-growth alternative profit businesses that generate additional value from our core grocery business. We are confident this partnership with Lindsay Goldberg will help discover and cultivate new brands that Kroger customers will love,” Stuart Aitken, senior vice president of alternative business at Kroger, said in a statement.


“We are transforming from grocer to growth company by deploying our assets to serve even more customers and create margin-rich alternative profit streams,” added Aitken, who’s also CEO of Cincinnati-based Kroger’s 84.51° data analytics subsidiary.


The companies noted that PearlRock pairs Kroger’s merchandising capabilities and predictive analytics with New York-based Lindsay Goldberg’s deep consumer expertise and nearly 20-year track record of investing in and supporting family-owned and founder-led companies.


“We are thrilled to partner with Kroger to help grow tomorrow’s most successful consumer brands alongside the entrepreneurs who built them,” said Brian Kelley, a partner at Lindsay Goldberg who previously served as CEO of Keurig Green Mountain and president of Coca-Cola’s North American operations. “Backed by a state-of-the-art predictive data platform, real-world consumer product expertise and unparalleled merchandising resources, these next-gen brands will be poised for growth and offer Kroger’s broad customer base greater choice, convenience and innovation.”


The relationship with Kroger will bring differentiated sourcing and visibility into evolving consumer preferences and brand performance, according to Lindsay Goldberg partner Chris Laitala. “Our partnership with Kroger creates an opportunity to invest in the consumer products industry with unique insights and a competitive edge,” he said...





Kroger's New Ready-to-Heat Meal Kits Are TV Dinners for Millennials

The new fully cooked, ready-to-heat menu brings meal kits full circle.


Rich Duprey, The Motley Fool 

May 14, 2019


This year marks the 66th anniversary of the original frozen TV dinners created by Campbell Soup's Swanson, which made the packaged meals to help working women short on time serve a tasty meal to their families. Now supermarket giant Kroger (NYSE:KR) is bringing the evolution of prepared meals almost full circle, announcing it will be testing new, ready-to-heat meal kits in 68 stores.


Beginning at around $6.50 per meal and taking as little as five minutes to cook, the kits will feature a variety of choices including chicken with broccoli and mashed potatoes, pork al pastor, and bacon mac and cheese. There will also be several mix-and-match offerings including a garlic pork sirloin roast, baby back ribs, smoked turkey breast, sirloin steak, and more. The oven-ready meals start at $8.50 each while the lunch kits are priced at $6.


Meals in the making


Popularized by Blue Apron (NYSE:APRN), meal kits have become a billion-dollar industry, with a recent Nielsen report saying 14.3 million households purchased one in the last six months of 2018, at 36% increase from the year before, while 23% of households said they'd consider purchasing one.


And they're tailor-made for millennials who seek out not only convenience in their food purchases, but personalization. It's why 60% of millennials have said they intend to buy a meal kit compared to 31% of baby boomers.


Although most meal kits are still purchased online, the percentage of that occurring is falling, as more people are turning to grocery stores to buy them. In-store, full-meal kit sales surged 51% in 2018, with 7.3 million unit sales recorded, according to Nielsen data.


The knock against meal kits, however, and what has caused a lot of Blue Apron's customer churn, is that they're really not all that convenient. While you get prepackaged, preportioned ingredients, there is still a lot of prep work to be done, a lot of steps to be performed, and a lot of time waiting before the meal hits the table. It's ultimately why many meal kit customers stop buying them. Blue Apron's customer counts fell by 30% in the last quarter to 550,000, about half of what they were at its peak.


Everything old is new again ...