Kroger’s Curation Efforts Help It Stand Out in the Crowd

Tim Denman
February 15, 2023
Kroger’s Curation Efforts Help It Stand Out in the Crowd

At A Glance

  • Grocers must differentiate to stand out in an increasingly competitive market.
  • Curated lists, promotions, and recipes make shopping fun and easy.
  • Kroger provides shoppers with affordable options for major holidays and events.
  • The grocer promotes its fresh and private brand offerings while providing value to its consumers.

Grocers must differentiate themselves to win the battle for shopper loyalty in an increasingly crowded and competitive market. It is no longer enough to have quality products, affordable pricing, and a seamless path to purchase — grocers must find innovative ways to connect with fickle shoppers.  

One way leading grocers can provide a differentiated and memorable experience for shoppers is through curation. The concept of curation is nothing new for grocers — deciding what products to stock is a core business capability and is as old as the industry itself. However, building a differentiated selection of goods and presenting those products to consumers in new and interesting formats allows grocers to add excitement to their assortment and greater connect with today’s option-laden shoppers.

Curated Shopping Lists

Kroger, for example, builds unique holiday offers and promotions, utilizing currently available items and presenting them in special, user-friendly packages. In February, the nation’s largest supermarket operator presented customers with curated shopping lists and recipes for the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day to help them prepare for the special events.

For the Super Bowl, Kroger curated a selection of fresh and affordable appetizers for less than $6 each, allowing shoppers to outfit their Super Bowl parties with tasty, fresh treats affordably. Among the curated selection were vegetable dip, fresh salsa, pigs in a blanket, homemade meatballs, and guacamole.

The curated selection not only featured fan favorites designed to connect with football fans looking for classic snacks to consume during the big game but also dovetailed with Kroger’s stated goal of promoting its fresh and private brand offerings.

“Inflation remains top of mind for our customers and our company,” CEO Rodney McMullen said on a recent earnings call with analysts. “We are laser-focused on helping our customers by providing fresh and affordable food. Research shows that cooking at home is three to four times less expensive than dining out. And we are seeing more customers engage with our brands to stretch their food budgets without compromising quality.”

For Valentine’s Day, the grocer furthered its goal of providing quality food on a budget for its customers, curating a romantic dinner complete with wine paring and dessert for $35. The curated shopping list featured a bottle of zinfandel, a salad, a main course of rigatoni and spicy marinara, and in-store prepared chocolate-covered strawberries. In addition to the shopping list, Kroger provided customers with detailed recipes on how to prepare the meals. Juan De Paoli, Kroger's vice president for Our Brands, said that customers can "celebrate love by experiencing the joy of cooking a meal together made out of fresh, affordable ingredients."

Holidays on a Budget

The Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day offerings are just the latest in Kroger’s holiday-focused curations. Spurred by insight from their customers, Kroger presented shoppers with a value-conscious Thanksgiving menu last fall designed to ensure customers in every income bracket could enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving feast.

“Forty-eight percent of customers told us they plan to cut back on their Thanksgiving celebration due to inflation,” said McMullen. “We took action and made sure Thanksgiving was enjoyable and memorable for everyone. To do that, we introduced an easy guide for customers to build an affordable meal of our brand's products with Thanksgiving favorites that a family could enjoy for as little as $5 a person.”

Leading From the Front

To hear more about how leading brands are setting themselves apart with the help of curation, be sure to check out “Differentiation Critical to Winning in Crowded Market.” The article explores some recent initiatives from Kroger, Whole Foods, and Sprouts Farmers Market designed to provide shoppers with unique, memorable experiences that drive long-term loyalty.