Kroger and Walgreens announced today that the two companies are building on a pilot program launched in October that has Kroger selling both grocery items and its Home Chef meal kits in Walgreens drug stores.
Walgreens will carve out floor space for a new “Kroger Express” section in select stores that will sell 2,300 curated items including meat, dairy, produce, CPG products as well as Home Chef meal kits. Kroger purchased Home Chef earlier this year for $200 million. The first such Kroger Express is already up and running in Florence, Kentucky (near Kroger’s Cincinnati headquarters) with twelve more pilot stores also across Northern Kentucky opening early next year.
At the same time, Kroger said that today it launched sales of Home Chef Express meal kits across 65 Walgreens in the Chicago area. The Home Chef Express meal kits serve two, promise to take only 15 minutes to prepare, will feature a rotating menu and will cost roughly ~$17.00.
For Spoon readers, what’s noteworthy about this news is the continuation of a trend that has meal kits moving to new and non-traditional retail outlets. Chef’d was a pioneer in this and had actually partnered with Walgreen’s as a meal kit sales channel in June of this year… before it abruptly shut down. According to The Wall Street Journal, Albertsons was going to sell Plated meal kits in Rite-Aid stores as part of their planned merger, but that merger fell through.
Kroger’s agreement with Walgreens is still just a pilot, so we’ll see if consumers want to grab a Hickory Seasoned Salmon and when they stock up on exfoliating cream. But it reinforces how Kroger continues to be nimble in its bid to fight off Amazon from swallowing up the grocery industry. In addition to this deal, the grocery giant is also experimenting with self-driving delivery vehicles, established an innovation lab, and is building out robot-driven warehouse fulfillment centers.