Where this is “supermarket talk” its very relevant to our practices, because it represents what the consumer market wants.
What is often a benefit of a smaller business like an independent pharmacy, or even a small chain, is that they can change quickly to market demands.
This often leads the 2-ton gorillas in the market to do in depth assessments, and “wait and see” if is worth their while to step into a process which would literally alter their branding, identity and sometimes entire business structure.
Whole Foods was one of those 2-ton gorillas, and after many years of running much higher profits while a small percentage of total sales that Kroeger was posting, Kroeger realized the market wants clean whole foods, but at a greater value and price.
Over the past few years, since Kroeger decided to throw their hat in the ring, actually recreate the ring, and now sells over 11 billion dollars in natural foods, being led by the most successful private line of its kind, their Simple Truth products.
All the while Whole Foods has had to readjust, announcing that they will be creating a chain of smaller stores, that will offer better prices on high quality foods which the market is demanding.
It seems that Kroeger is understanding that this “healthy eating and lifestyle” thing is not a fad, as they preparing to take the next step in major changes to their model, changes that will without a doubt affect the entire grocery industry, from the shelves to the sourcing…while influencing far off markets simply due to their size.
Kroeger has just published an outline detailing how it plans to be more sustainable by 2020, just 3 ½ short years away.
Some finer points include:
· Sourcing in its supply chain as well as becoming more conscientious in its use and protection of the natural environment, aiming to ensure that 90% of all of its seafood comes from fisheries certified by the Marine Stewardship Council or other programs recognized by the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative.
· Additionally, the store aims to source 100% of its wild-caught seafood from MSC-certified fisheries. Currently, Kroger’s numbers stand at about 59% for total seafood volume and 83% for wild species.
· As for its impact on the natural environment, Kroger wants to meet the EPA’s “zero waste” threshold of 90% diversion from landfills.
· The retailer also plans to optimize its packaging to make it more sustainable. In order to do so, it will source materials responsibly, increase the recyclability of its packaging, use at least 20% recycled content to manufacture its packaging, and reduce the amount of plastic resin used by 10 million pounds.
· Other goals include reducing water consumption by 5%, reducing refrigerant leaks by 9%, improving transportation efficiency by 20%, and ultimately reducing its cumulative energy consumption by 40%. Kroger is also joining numerous other retailers in committing to 100% cage free eggs by 2025, a promise that has recently been made by Walmart, PepsiCo, and Walt Disney Parks.
But what I want you to take home is what this means to us.
As you can see, social responsibility which used to be in the category of organics and natural foods, is now on the main stage for two reasons. People really do want to make a better world, and the consumer wants it, and it helps sway their decision and opinion on where to shop.
It has been in our industry for a long time. Many nutritional companies lead with this as being a mainstay to their model. For instance, many nutritional companies have partnered with Vitamin Angels to ensure that the underserved over the globe have access to quality nutrition.
Do you have to start donating to a social responsible cause? No, not of course not, but if it is within your value set, you will find that it pays back time and time again.
Although you might want to begin to support supplement companies and wholesalers that have this in their model, and never feel shy to let your consumer base know.
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