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Kroger in partnership to develop new consumer brands

The Kroger Co. is forming an incubator to develop next-gen consumer product brands.

The supermarket giant and private investment firm Lindsay Goldberg have joined together to form PearlRock Partners, a new, data-driven platform that will identify, invest in and help grow the next generation of leading consumer product brands, the companies said.

The move comes as Kroger has been focusing on growing alternative businesses that generate added value from its core grocery business. The new platform will drive new alternate profit streams for Kroger, the retailer said, but will also contribute to the small brand ecosystem, helping emerging brands grow and thrive in Kroger’s stores.

“We are confident this partnership with Lindsay Goldberg will help discover and cultivate new brands that Kroger customers will love,” said Stuart Aitken, Kroger’s senior VP of alternative business and CEO of 84.51. “We are transforming from grocer to growth company by deploying our assets to serve even more customers and create margin-rich alternative profit streams.”

The two companies said that PearlRock combines Kroger’s merchandising capabilities and predictive analytics with New York-based Lindsay Goldberg’s deep consumer expertise and nearly 20-year track record of investing in and supporting family-owned and founder-led companies.

“We are thrilled to partner with Kroger to help grow tomorrow’s most successful consumer brands alongside the entrepreneurs who built them,” said Brian Kelley, a partner at Lindsay Goldberg who previously served as CEO of Keurig Green Mountain and president of Coca-Cola’s North American operations. “Backed by a state-of-the-art predictive data platform, real-world consumer product expertise and unparalleled merchandising resources, these next-gen brands will be poised for growth and offer Kroger’s broad customer base greater choice, convenience and innovation.”

The new platform is in keeping with Restock Kroger, the company’s ongoing plan to transform its customer experience. As part of the strategy, Kroger is leveraging its stores, logistics and data assets to create incremental new profit streams, which, in turn, drive investments to redefine the customer experience.
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