Kroger Announces Plans to Build Culinary Institute
- by Jessica Donnel
CINCINNATI, OH – As retailers continue to announce shifting strategies to tap in on consumer demand and a growing focus on food culture, Kroger Co. has announced that the company will make a sizeable investment into a new culinary training and education center.
“We believe this will further establish Cincinnati as a hub for the food industry,” CEO Rodney McMullen said. “It’s nice this is in Cincinnati. The food scene here is kind of fun.”
Kroger plans to invest $2.5 million into remodeling the downtown building, with plans to open the 12,270-square-foot facility as a culinary training and education center, according to The Cincinnati Business Courier. The company plans to bring 20 chefs at a time to the location, for a day or two to exchange ideas.
“We’ll have a facility that’s incredibly up to date for chefs to do what chefs do and make some great product,” said McMullen. “But they’ll also be able to give us more insight on food trends, so when you think about our corporate brands, making sure we’re developing the right flavors, the right trends, the right product lines.”
McMullen said that the company is following a similar trend of several other venture capitalist partnerships and restaurant start-ups, to invest funding into a nationwide burgeoning food scene. Kroger plans to break ground on the project next month, and detailed the project during its annual shareholders’ meeting last week.
“It’s more about the food experience for us,” Mike Donnelley, Executive Vice President of Merchandising. “It’s about how to stay more in tune with food trends.”
This announcement seems to mark a rising trend in the buy-side industry, as Walmart debuted its own culinary center earlier this year. Kroger looks to be continuing a move towards innovative consumer-based strategies as the company also stated a growing interest in formulating a Kroger delivery meal service, according to The Cincinnati Business Courier.
As retailers continue to sharpen their focus and hone in on growing trends and strategies, AndNowUKnow will continue to report on these announcements and their impact on the industry.