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06/02/2022

Kroger launches digital marketplace for local farm produce

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Kroger is introducing a digital farmers market.

The Kroger Co. is putting a 21st-century spin on the traditional farmers market model.

America's largest grocery retailer is partnering with online “farm-to-front-door” platform Market Wagon to launch a digital farmers market in Atlanta. Developed as an e-commerce marketplace for local farmers and businesses, the service is a digital platform that offers customers a range of fresh, local products.

The delivery-only service offers a local assortment of over 1,150 local products by grouping Atlanta-area vendors together including local farmers, bakeries, and food artisans. All items offered at Kroger Farmers Market are exclusive to the service and cannot yet be found at Kroger stores.

The new partnership service will service a 60-mile radius across Atlanta that includes 28 counties in the greater metropolitan area. Customers can choose their preferred delivery day of either Tuesday or Friday.

"Kroger's new digital farmers market pilot is part of the evolution of our rapidly growing and innovative e-commerce business," said Felix Turner, Kroger corporate affairs manager for the Atlanta Division. "This partnership reinforces the importance of buying local to customers, powered by modern, cost-effective, and efficient last-mile solutions. We're excited to launch this service in partnership with Market Wagon across Atlanta.”

“Our mission is to enable food producers to thrive in their local market, and I am excited to partner with Kroger to carry it out together,” said Nick Carter, Market Wagon co-founder and CEO. “This partnership is a tremendous opportunity for the farmers and food producers we serve in the Atlanta area.”

Customers is Atlanta can visit marketwagon.com/kroger to check delivery eligibility. Additionally, sellers can visit the link to learn more and apply to sell their products on Kroger Farmers Market.

Kroger extends its business with online delivery
Kroger has been heavily investing in digital delivery infrastructure as a means of widening its reach without having to invest in physical stores. For example, Kroger initially entered the Florida market via online delivery in June 2021, when it opened a location of its leading-edge automated warehouse concept known as a customer fulfillment center (CFC) in Groveland, Florida (part of the greater Orlando metro area). The 375,000-sq.-ft, facility carries thousands of popular grocery products and can fulfill thousands of orders per day.

In April 2022, Kroger said it will further expand delivery operations already available to Floridians in the greater Orlando, Tampa, and Jacksonville areas to the South Florida market. Customers can shop online and choose from thousands of fresh food options and household essentials, which are then seamlessly delivered to their homes in refrigerated vans.

CFC represents one of the models engineered for the grocer’s flexible, vertically integrated Kroger Delivery network, which also includes smaller automated facilities and spoke locations, such as a recently-opened Louisville facility. In CFCs, more than 1,000 robots traverse giant 3D grids, orchestrated by proprietary air-traffic control systems in the unlicensed spectrum, to retrieve and sort orders for loading and delivery.

Based in Cincinnati, Kroger operates 2,800 stores, including more than 100 stores in Southeast Texas and Louisiana, under a variety of banners across the U.S., including Kroger, Fred Meyer, Ralphs, Dillons, Smith's, King Soopers, Fry's, QFC, City Market, Owen's, Jay C, Pay Less, Baker's, Gerbes, Harris Teeter, Pick 'n Save, Metro Market, and Mariano's.