Main own plant-based brands
Simple Truth and Simple Truth Organic Brands offer some plant-based products.
- Kroger is one of the largest food retailers in the US. Nearly a quarter of its total sales in the US are derived from the Fresh category, which includes meat, seafood and fresh prepared and 50% is from ‘Non-perishable’, that presumably includes frozen and refrigerated products containing meat and/or dairy. The company also operates 19 milk processing plant and one meat plant in the US. The company is therefore exposed to risks and disruptions in animal protein supply chains.
- Kroger’s strength lies in its strong data analytics capabilities, which allow it to track and monitor sales data at a granular level. Kroger has shared metrics with FAIRR that show that on a consolidated basis, the share of plant-based and alternative protein products has grown from 3% to 4% within relevant categories: refrigerated, frozen, and grocery. This data is not yet publicly reported. We consider this as one of the strongest examples of potential metrics to track transition/exposure across categories with high exposure to animal proteins.
- Kroger has been proactive about expanding their range of plant-based/alternative protein products (both own brand and external) for some years. They have also led peers in merchandising alternative protein products along with their conventional counterparts (to increase consumer uptake).
- However, the company’s work to address the risks of animal protein sourcing is incomplete. They do not have any strong sustainable sourcing programmes in animal proteins and have not yet assessed the carbon implications of their animal protein sourcing. Similarly, they have reluctant to strongly advocate for dietary shifts as part of their health and nutrition approach.
- We would encourage the company to continue to broaden its sustainability focus and build a more strategic plan to transition its product portfolio (through, for example, category-based targets) to ensure any exposure to animal proteins is in line with a low-carbon strategy.
Thank you for the opportunity to review your assessment of Kroger. We don’t have any detailed comments to provide to your initial findings, though I did want to share a few relevant updates since we last corresponded:
- Kroger has committed to conduct a climate risk analysis, which will include scenario analysis, and to set a company-wide carbon reduction target in 2019. We will communicate this commitment in our 2019 Sustainability Report (to be published by early July).
- Kroger identified plant-based foods as one of our Top Foods Trends for 2019