retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Bloomberg reports that Seattle-area Kroger customers next week "will be able to walk out with fresh parsley, cilantro and other greens grown in the store, the latest example of grocers bringing the farm right to their aisles.

"Kroger’s deal with German startup Infarm includes two stores with plans for 13 more to come online by March of next year. It’s part of a broader push by the nation’s biggest traditional supermarket chain to improve sluggish sales by amping up its fresh-food offering, while also enhancing its environmental cred. The greens - including crystal lettuce and Nero Di Toscana kale - only need tending once or twice a week and will sell for no more than Kroger’s existing store-brand organic produce, according to Suzy Monford, Kroger’s group vice president of fresh."

According to Bloomberg, "While this is Infarm’s first stateside venture, the Berlin-based company is already well established, with more than 500 farms dispersed through partnerships at more than 25 major food retailers internationally, including Edeka and Amazon Fresh in Germany, Marks & Spencer in the U.K., and Metro in France. Its farms grow a variety of herbs and leafy greens including stalwarts like parsley and kale, as well as more specialized options like green mizuna and Peruvian mint."
KC's View:
Many, many years ago, I remember covering the installation of an enormous hydroponics facility in a Texas supermarket - I'm pretty sure it was a Fiesta Mart. And while that didn't work because it wasn't economically sustainable, it was, I think, a foreshadowing of where the world eventually would go.

Let me remind you of a FaceTime piece from a few weeks ago about the bend, Oregon, aquaponics business that shortens the growing and distribution time for a number of fresh produce items. If I owned a retail business, I'd be reaching out to those folks to see if they could operate something inside my store, so that I could literally shorten the time and distance from farm to fork.