Kroger and Walgreens announced today that they will expand their joint retail pilot program into Knoxville, TN. The program, which sees select Walgreens drug stores selling Kroger groceries, started in October of last year in northern Kentucky.

The program will begin this fall in 35 Walgreens stores in Knoxville, and according to the press release:

The assortment will vary by store and can include fresh meat, produce and dairy, frozen foods, shelf-stable products and Home Chef meal solutions to provide customers with a fill-in grocery shopping experience. Most locations will feature a full Kroger Express assortment, with up to 2,700 products, and other stores, on average, will offer 2,300 products.

Additionally, the press release said that most locations will accommodate Kroger Pickup, which means orders placed online can be picked up curbside by customers.

It’s also worth noting that Home Chef was name-checked in today’s announcement. The Kroger-owned Home Chef meal kits were introduced at Walgreens in December last year. At that time, the two companies announced they would roll out Home Chef meal kits to the stores in the Kentucky pilot, as well as 65 Walgreens in the Chicago area.

The evolution of meal kits is something we’ve been following at The Spoon, as they have migrated from mail order to retail, including non-traditional food outlets like drug stores. The fact that Kroger mentioned Home Chef specifically seems to indicate that sales of meal kits at Walgreens are robust enough to keep expanding their availability.

Between retail experiments like this one with Walgreens, building out robot warehouses and testing self-driving vehicles, Kroger’s willingness to try just about anything to get you groceries is the main reason we added them to our Food Tech 25: Twenty Five Companies Creating the Future of Food in 2019 list this year.

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