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Kroger highlights sustainable efforts in new report

BY DSN STAFF

CINCINNATI — Kroger has released its fifth annual sustainability report.

Some of the highlights noted in the report include:

  • Kroger stores reduced overall energy consumption by 30% since 2000;

  • Company-wide, including all facilities, Kroger has saved more than 2.2 billion kilowatt hours;

  • Kroger completed its first wind energy project. Two wind turbines installed at Turkey Hill Dairy in Lancaster, Pa., will supply 25% of the dairy’s annual electricity needs;

  • Kroger’s manufacturing plants reduced the amount of waste sent to landfills by 30% since 2009 — a 22 million lb. reduction. Kroger sold and provided customers with more than 5 million reusable bags, an average of 14,000 per day, and Kroger stores, plants and distribution centers recycled more than 1.2 billion lbs. of corrugated cardboard and paper;

  • In partnership with customers, Kroger recycled 26 million lbs. of plastic, a 180% increase in plastic recycling since 2007; and

  • Kroger’s ongoing hunger relief efforts provided the equivalent of 125 million meals to local families in 2010.

"Kroger associates have worked hard to integrate sustainable practices into our everyday business operations. In 2010, Kroger stores saved enough energy to power the city of Fort Worth for a full year. We sent less waste to landfills, recycled more plastic and provided our customers with 5 million more reusable bags — all while Kroger transported and sold more products than ever before," said Rodney McMullen, president and COO of Kroger. "At Kroger, we are committed to making the world a better place. And we’re just getting started."

Read the full report and learn more about Kroger’s sustainability initiatives at the new website Kroger.com/Sustainability.

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PLMA reports jump in 2010 private-label sales

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — Private-label sales across all three major retail channels reached new heights in 2010, according to the Private Label Manufacturers Association.

According to PLMA’s 2011 Private Label Yearbook, which tracks private-label sales and market share trends based on Nielsen Co. data for the year ended Dec. 25, 2010, when looking at total outlets — comprised of U.S. supermarkets, drug stores and mass merchandisers, including Walmart — store-brand sales increased by nearly 2%, while dollar share advanced by almost half a point to a new record level. This brought total sales to $88.5 billion, according to the Nielsen data.

PLMA also said among these increases, private-label brand sales increased more than 2% and nearly 5% in supermarkets and drug store chains in 2010, respectively. Over the past decade, annual sales of private-label products have increased by 40% in supermarkets and by 96% in drug stores, PLMA said.

PLMA noted that while the numbers proved the growth of the private-label market, there is an estimated $15 billion to $20 billion in additional private-label sales that occur in channels not reported to the Nielsen databases, including warehouse clubs, limited-assortment stores, convenience stores and dollar stores. If these data were reported, the total sales likely would have produced a grand total exceeding $100 billion for 2010, PLMA said.

PLMA also noted growth was attributed to the recession, which forced consumers to alter their shopping habits, as well as "the extreme efforts by national brand marketers in 2010 to recapture some of the market share they lost to store brands over the previous years."

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Whole Foods coaches shoppers on how to pick what they eat

BY DSN STAFF

ROCKVILLE, Md. — Michael Kiss, a chef who works at Whole Foods’ store in Rockville, Md.,  is one of the natural food supermarket chain’s army of “cooking coaches,” who are on staff to talk to customers about what kinds of food are available at the store and how to pick out the right kinds of food — something that’s helpful in a store known for carrying a dizzying variety of exotic ingredients. For Kiss, according to a recent Washington Post article, the job of a Whole Foods cooking coach is sometimes as simple as helping a recently widowed man pick out the right ingredients to make a quiche.

How supermarkets influence the way people eat has come a long way from free samples on toothpicks. Over the years, Americans have become increasingly conscious and selective about what they eat and how to eat well in general, with a special focus on food that is healthy and tastes good. Many supermarket chains like Supervalu, Hy-Vee and others have hired in-store nutrition experts and dietitians who can give store tours and assist customers looking to eat healthier diets or those who have special dietary needs due to such health conditions as diabetes or celiac disease.

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