A partnership between Kroger and Infarm (Berlin-based urban farming company) has been announced that will incorporate farming into two Kroger stores in Washington with more locations in the works for QFC stores.
“Kroger believes that everyone deserves to have access to fresh, affordable and delicious food, no matter who you are, how you shop or what you like to eat,” said Suzy Monford, Kroger’s group vice president of fresh. “Our partnership with Infarm allows us to innovate by combining ground-breaking in-store farming technology with our passion for fresh, local produce and ecological sourcing. Kroger is excited to be first to market and offer the best of the season, and we’re proud to lead the U.S. on this journey.”
On the surface, this doesn’t seem like much. BUT, if you look at this from a socio-economic standpoint rather than a retail innovation one, I think that this is huge.
Food injustice in the U.S. is a massive issue that is not well-addressed. There are food deserts all over the country (regions where access to fresh and affordable healthy food is severely limited), and if a mega-grocer like Kroger can take even baby steps towards finding a solution for the people who live in these areas, the potential is limitless.
These urban farming stations within Kroger’s will provide Kroger shoppers who live in areas where produce cannot grow or where produce is atrociously priced to be able to walk out of the store with affordable, healthy food for their families at an affordable Kroger price.
In the state of Minnesota (where I live), there are food deserts everywhere. The winters are also awful, and buying fruits and veggies that have to be shipped from warmer areas of the world that are not super fresh and cost an arm and a leg sucks. If I could go to a Target (because there are no Kroger’s here) and buy affordable produce that I know is fresh because it was grown right in the store, I would do it all of the time.
This story reminds me of the one Kroger that I have ever been to. It’s in Flint, Michigan. It’s not pretty, but it’s one of the only large grocery stores with affordable food in the area, and tons of Flint residents have to shop there for their families. If fresh produce could grow there and be sold at a low Kroger price, that could put healthy food options into the hands of so many under-served Michiganders.
A grocer as big as Kroger taking steps towards fresh food for everyone could spark a light that entices other large grocers to jump in, as well, and if this were to spread, I think that positive and tangible results in communities where healthy food is not viable are possible.
Original article by Michael Browne of Supermarket News.
Featured image from Infarm via Supermarket News.