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Kroger, WBA pilot

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DEERFIELD, Ill. — Kroger Co. and Walgreens this month announced two major initiatives, building on the exploratory pilot program the companies announced in October that is designed to take advantage of Kroger’s strength as America’s grocer and food authority combined with Walgreens global expertise in pharmacy, health and beauty.

The first initiative is Kroger Express, a curated assortment of 2,300 products, selected using customer data and insights provided by Kroger subsidiary 84.51°, that will be offered at the 13 Walgreens test stores in northern Kentucky.

The Kroger Express selection will include Home Chef meal kits, national products and Kroger’s popular Our Brands products, highlighting America’s largest natural and organic brand Simple Truth, along with dairy, meat, produce, frozen and meal solutions.

The first concept store is already operational in Florence. The remaining 12 pilot stores will be operational early next year.

As announced in October, the participating pilot stores are offering a one-stop shopping experience where customers can access products from both brands and order groceries on kroger.com for pickup at Walgreens. The Kroger Express concept marks an expansion of the original ­offering.

A second initiative, Home Chef Express, has also been launched, with meal kits now available in 65 Walgreens locations in the Chicago area. This new offering from the pilot program enhances the reach of Home Chef Express products, which are already available at certain Kroger Family of Stores, including select Mariano’s stores in the greater Chicago area.

During the pilot, Walgreens will offer three unique Home Chef Express meal kit options, with recipes rotating biweekly. Other recipes are available for delivery through homechef.com, where shoppers can find additional weekly variety. Each meal serves two and starts at $8.50 per serving. Information about participating locations is available at homechef.com/grocery.

“We are redefining the customer experience in a variety of ways through Restock Kroger, including innovative partnerships like our test-and-learn pilot with Walgreens. We are excited to enter the next phase of the pilot,” said Robert Clark, Kroger’s senior vice president of merchandising. “The Kroger Express concept creates easy access to our most popular Our Brands products through a fill-in grocery shopping experience for Walgreens customers, and our Home Chef Express meal kits provide customers with an on-demand solution for tonight’s dinner.”

The expanded pilot also has a lot to offer for Walgreens Boots Alliance’s Walgreens chain and its shoppers.

“We’re pleased to continue working together to explore new concepts that expand product selection to provide a better shopping experience and greater value for our customers,” commented Walgreens president of operations Richard ­Ashworth.

Clark added that so far customers have responded favorably to the retail meal kits at Mariano’s stores in the market and other Kroger stores located in different cities. “The Walgreens expansion provides more Chicagoans convenient access to a quick, simple meal,” Clark said.

“Making Home Chef Express meals available at Walgreens is another way Home Chef is making meal time easy,” said Pat Vih­telic, Home Chef founder and chief executive officer. “The Express recipes, which cook in 15 minutes, are meals anyone can cook and everyone will love.”

Kroger says it is dedicated to its stated purpose — “to feed the human spirit.” Kroger Family of Companies is comprised of nearly half a million associates who serve 9 million customers daily through a seamless digital shopping experience and 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names, providing America with food inspiration and uplift, and creating #ZeroHungerZeroWaste communities by 2025.

Walgreens is one of the nation’s largest drug store chains. About 8 million customers interact with Walgreens in stores and online daily, using the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services.


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