- Kroger has announced a partnership with Apeel Sciences to sell its avocados, supplied by Horton Fruit Company, at 109 stores in the Cincinnati market beginning this month. The company will introduce Apeel avocados to additional stores in the future.
- This effort supports Kroger’s "Zero Hunger Zero Waste" initiative, which launched a year ago to eliminate food waste across the company by 2025. In partnering with Apeel, Kroger will be able to sell fresher avocados and reduce food waste on the grocery store shelf and at home.
- Apeel avocados stay ripe twice as long as regular ones, without using any refrigeration or preservatives. Last month, the company secured $70 million in new financing.
The collaboration with Kroger is a major benefit for Apeel because it adds a second heavy-hitter to Apeel's partner list, allowing it to leverage more corporate credibility. Earlier this summer, Costco began selling the long-lasting avocados nationwide. Harps Food Stores also sells the Apeel's avocados in the Midwest.
As for Kroger, this is another business strategy to add to its arsenal of innovative efforts this year, including its Restock Kroger initiative, selling its convenience store business and launching a clothing line. With this partnership, Kroger increases its momentum on tackling food waste, which has grown to be a major issue in the industry, yet one few grocers have shown large progress on. In the meantime, food waste has spawned a roster of other businesses aimed at alleviating the problem, especially with produce.
Kroger, itself, has previously scored low on its efforts to combat food waste, which likely explains its Zero Hunger Zero Waste initiative that launched a year ago. The program aims to use a combination of food donations, advocacy, fundraising and partnerships to achieve its campaign goals. Selling Apeel avocados demonstrates that Kroger is taking the effort seriously and making concrete moves. It also positions the grocer well among consumers who are increasingly conscious of food quality, sustainability and eco-friendliness.
Apeel stands out because it is true to its mission, creating a product applied to produce to reduce food waste that is made up of plant-based materials, rather than using anything artificial. While avocados have been getting all the media attention, its product can be used on a number of fruits and vegetables. With the popularity of avocados among millennials, perhaps this is an intentional public relations ploy.