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Harris Teeter expands online fresh delivery

Harris Teeter delivery truck
Harris Teeter delivers fresh online orders.

A subsidiary of The Kroger Co. is making delivery of online orders, including produce and fresh items, available in a new market.

Harris Teeter is offering its delivery service to customers across Baltimore and throughout greater Maryland. The regional grocery retailer offers fresh products and grocery essentials delivered fresh to a customer’s doorstep by its own associates.

“At Harris Teeter, we are committed to enriching lives, one meal, one family, one associate, and one community at a time,” said Harris Teeter president Tammy DeBoer.

Customers can place their Harris Teeter Delivery orders online or via the grocer’s mobile app, with the guarantee their groceries will arrive via delivery vans that have been customized to ensure every item is retained at the proper temperature and that fresh products are delivered to customers’ doorsteps.

Harris Teeter uses machine learning technology to ensure drivers are on the fastest route, to minimize driving time and ensure groceries arrive as quickly as possible. Delivery assortment spans more than 30,000 items including fresh produce, meats and seafood, and private label items. Customers earn the same rewards shopping online as in-store.

Kroger’s fast delivery model explained

Harris Teeter’s delivery service is part of parent company Kroger’s fast delivery model, which is an extension of a partnership between Kroger and U.K.-based online grocer Ocado Group, Introduced in 2018, the partnership leverages a fast delivery “hub and spoke” model relying on a leading-edge automated warehouse concept known as a customer fulfillment center (CFC).

The CFC model combines vertical integration, machine learning, and robotics with affordable and fast delivery service for fresh food. CFC facilities leverage proprietary technology solutions focused on artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced robotics and automation to create more seamless and efficient fulfillment, picking and delivery capabilities for enhanced digital commerce.

CFCs serve as hubs for the flexible, vertically integrated Kroger Delivery network, which also includes smaller automated facilities and spoke locations. In CFCs, more than 1,000 robots traverse giant 3D grids, orchestrated by proprietary air-traffic control systems in the unlicensed spectrum. The grid, known as The Hive, contains totes with products and ready-to-deliver customer orders.

As customers' orders near their delivery times, the robots retrieve products from The Hive, which are presented at stations for items to be sorted for delivery via an algorithmic sorting process. For example, fragile items are placed on top, bags are evenly weighted, and each order is optimized to fit into the fewest number of bags, reducing plastic use.

Once completed, orders are loaded into a temperature-controlled Kroger delivery van. Drivers may travel up to 90 miles with orders from facilities to make deliveries.

“We are thrilled to expand Harris Teeter’s delivery options to give our loyal Maryland customers a delivery experience that is as convenient and special as shopping in one of our stores,” said Bill Rhyne, senior director of operations support for Harris Teeter. “It’s just as exciting to introduce our high-quality fresh produce, prepared foods and more to new geographic locations not previously served by a Harris Teeter store.”

Harris Teeter is also offering an additional $15 off a customer’s first three delivery orders of $35 or more through July 31. This offer is only valid on orders from the Frederick, Md. Kroger fulfillment center.

Harris Teeter delivery is currently available in the Frederick, Md/and Baltimore metro area. Delivery will expand through June 2023 into more ZIP codes.

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