Kroger report calls for all own brand packages to be fully sustainable by 2030

Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Kroger released its 2020 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report, updating progress made on sustainability goals and its commitment to food hunger and social issues.

Most recently, the retailer announced a recycling program with TerraCycle dedicated to Simple Truth products using flexible packaging that can’t be recycled traditionally, as well as the development of reusable packaging solutions as part of TerraCycle’s Loop platform. The news feeds into the report’s announcement that all of Kroger’s store brand packages will be 100% recyclable, compostable and or reusable by 2030.

Other goals set for 2030, as outlined in the report, include an increase in recycled content in packaging so that the Kroger Our Brands portfolio, as Kroger deems them, collectively contains at least 10% recycled content in packaging, a reduction in unnecessary packaging and an increase in awareness among Kroger customers about how to properly manage store brand product packaging at end of life.

The report also said Kroger will commit to reduce its absolute enterprise-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030, from a 2018 base year, and a commitment to eliminate tropical deforestation in the raw materials and products it sources into Kroger-owned manufacturing facilities and into its fresh meat case by 2025.

The retailer’s store brands were also discussed as part of its pledge toward food safety, reaffirming a move that began in 2019 to have all of its private brand food products carry standardized date labels to offer easier-to-understand product quality and safety information. The manufacturing plants and co-packing suppliers also are aligned with the labeling practice of "Use by" to indicate food safety and "Best by" to indicate quality of its private label products.

All of the efforts reflect Kroger’s commitment to its Zero Hunger I Zero Waste initiative. Additionally, the retailer announced a $3.4 billion investment in minority- and women-owned businesses in 2019, resulting in an increase by 30% in two years.

"As the largest grocery retailer in America, Kroger is committed to being a force for good in the communities we serve," said Keith Dailey, group vice president of corporate affairs and chief sustainability officer. "Our Purpose — to Feed the Human Spirit — continues to guide how we operate our business, care for our communities and deliver value to all our stakeholders. We're proud of our progress in 2019 and remain committed to our vision of a future with Zero Hunger | Zero Waste."