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Kroger opens culinary innovation center

The Kroger Co. continues to ramp up its culinary offerings.

The supermarket giant opened a 12,000-sq.-ft., LEED-designed Culinary Innovation Center in downtown Cincinnati. The facility will do double duty as an educational center and state-of-the-art test kitchen, complete with multiple cooking stations. It also has video technology that allows video streaming of educational sessions to Kroger employees across the country.

“The Center gives our culinary team a fun, modern space to innovate and experiment with food trends, flavors, and ingredients to create new experiences for our customers,” said Daniel Hammer, Kroger's VP of culinary development and new business.

Kroger has been investing in various initiatives to build a “foodie” reputation. The company opened its first freestanding restaurant, Kitchen 1883, in November 2017. Also in 2017, it launched its own line of meal kits, Prep+Pared Meal Kits, which are available for purchase in stores and through ClickList. The company plans to rapidly grow the footprint of the meal kits in 2018.

"As we focus on redefining the customer experience and developing talent through food inspiration and uplift, as outlined in Restock Kroger, this R&D lab will allow us to accelerate product development for Our Brands, produce new recipes for Prep + Pared Meal Kits, explore new restaurant concepts, host food tastings and focus groups, and increase our associates' culinary knowledge,” said Hammer. “Our new Center is one more tool we have to keep our pulse on customer trends and expand our foodie culture.”
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