Kroger bringing back ‘the milkman’
Kroger shoppers will soon be able to buy ice cream or shampoo in a reusable container thanks to the grocer’s new partnership with Loop, a zero-waste platform from a coalition of major consumer goods companies.
Cincinnati-based The Kroger Co. and Trenton, N.J.-based Loop will pilot the new reusable packaging system in the Northeast this summer, enabling customers in select markets to purchase more than 100 products from leading consumer brands that have been redesigned with durable containers.
Loop was born about after recycling firm TerraCycle worked with companies such as Procter & Gamble, Nestle, PepsiCo, Unilever, and more than a dozen others for over a year to develop the platform.
"Loop was designed from the ground-up to reinvent the way we consume by leveraging the sustainable, circular milkman model of yesterday with the convenience of e-commerce," said Tom Szaky, founder and CEO of Loop and TerraCycle. "TerraCycle came together with dozens of major consumer product companies from P&G to Nestle to Unilever, the World Economic Forum, logistics and transportation company UPS and leading retailers Kroger and Walgreens to create a simple and convenient way to enjoy a wide range of products, customized in brand-specific durable and reusable packaging."
Products available on the Loop platform are packaged in reusable glass or metal containers and shipped directly to consumers in a specially designed tote. Once used, products are retrieved through free at-home pickup, then cleaned, refilled and reused — creating a first-of-its-kind circular packaging system.
During the first phase of the U.S. launch, a select number of consumers in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Washington, D.C., will be able to experience Loop. In the future, based on consumer response, Kroger said it envisions creating an in-store Loop experience in a Kroger community.
Kroger's partnership with Loop is part of the retailer's latest commitment to reduce single-use plastics under its Zero Hunger | Zero Waste plan. In 2018, the company became the first U.S. retailer to commit to phasing out single-use plastic grocery shopping bags. As of April 1, Kroger's QFC division in the Pacific Northwest no longer offers customers single-use plastic bags.
"Our commitment to innovative solutions on our path to Zero Hunger | Zero Waste aligns perfectly with Loop's mission to create a convenient circular packaging platform for consumers," said Jessica Adelman, Kroger's group vice president of corporate affairs. "Customers are increasingly seeking out sustainable products and services that fit their lifestyle. As the exclusive grocery retail partner for Loop in the U.S., Kroger is taking another big step toward a world with zero waste."
Kroger operates more than 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names as well as several digital enterprises.