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10/06/2022

Q&A: What Impacts Kroger's Ethnic Product Development?

Juan De Paoli, VP of Our Brands at Kroger, spoke about how the retailer approaches developing new products influenced by global flavors.
Zachary Russell
Associate Editor
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In a competitive grocery market, retailers are always looking for new products and flavors to offer customers.

Kroger is no exception. The retailer has built a strong portfolio of ethnic foods and flavors within its Own Brand assortment, catering to customers of all backgrounds.

Store Brands spoke with Juan De Paoli, VP of Our Brands at Kroger, about which ethnic flavors are resonating the most with consumers, and how the retailer chooses to develop new private label products.

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Juan De Paoli
Juan De Paoli
At the beginning of the year, Kroger's 2022 food trends report predicted Asian foods and flavors like umami and teriyaki to trend this year. Several months later, is that prediction accurate? What are some of the most popular 'world flavors' Kroger has seen its customers gravitate towards?

 

Yes. We continue to see customers trying new products that are Asian-inspired. Our pipeline of new products includes many items to support this continued trend, including embracing spicy foods.

Many cultures embrace spicy foods and we see those flavors resonating with our customers, whether that be Chile Crisp, Thai Sweet Chile, Roasted Poblano, or Hatch Green Chile.

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Kroger private selection
How does Kroger track what ethnic foods and flavors are trending with consumers? How quickly do these trending flavors change?

 

There’s a difference between a trend and a fad. Fads are short-lived and fleeting.  True trends are grounded in unspoken consumer needs. Trends evolve slowly over time – we aren’t just looking for ‘what’s the hot new flavor,’ we’re looking for motivations behind those trends and where the flavor trend overlaps with other consumer needs.

For example, ramen isn’t trending only because it tastes good. It can be linked to convenience, nostalgia, wellness and comfort. For a product to be successful on shelf, flavor trends are only one piece of the puzzle.

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Kroger private selection
How do you determine what foods and flavors are best to add into the Our Brands portfolio?

 

The Our Brands Innovation Team looks deeply at data and analytics along with consumer habits and published research to predict the future needs and wants of our customer - observing consumer behavior, understanding market trends, conducting research, monitoring the industry, exploring the culinary landscape - all grounded in an in-depth knowledge of our business and our customers. It’s this dedicated team that helps translate trends into new products for our portfolio.

How does a strong variety of ethnic foods and flavors help a retailer like Kroger stand out in the world of private label?

 

Carrying a wide variety of different foods isn’t about trends. We do it to ensure we are meeting the needs of ALL of our customers.  We strive to provide each and every customer with great tasting products and authentic flavor profiles they desire, all with the highest quality and value, only found at Kroger.