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CEO McMullen Discusses Kroger’s Purpose At NRF Big Show

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Rodney McMullen, CEO of Cincinnati-based Kroger Co., joined Matthew Shay, National Retail Federation president and CEO, for a conversation on the grocer’s purpose of “Feeding the Human Spirit” at the NRF Big Show.

McMullen discussed how Kroger continues to serve customers and employees in an ever-changing, competitive grocery industry.

“Fundamentally, we know the grocery business will only ever become more competitive – that has proven true for the last century,” McMullen said.

“At Kroger, we succeed by giving a great experience to the customer, investing in associates and making an impact in the communities we serve. When we do that really well, we succeed in living ‘Our Purpose to Feed the Human Spirit.'”

McMullen shared that the constant evolution of retail makes the industry interesting and dynamic, observing over the last four decades how shopping habits have gone from weekly trips to the store to the myriad of options customers toggle between today.

Kroger seeks to deliver an experience that molds to customers’ daily needs – with zero compromise on value and convenience, promising fresh products that help customers stretch their dollars, McMullen explained. The pandemic accelerated the digital shopping and delivery trend from a three-year horizon into a two-week period. These options remain a necessity for customers as they continue to cook at home and look for savings under the squeeze of inflation.

“A lot of people learned to cook during the pandemic, and when we talk to our customers, they are telling us they really like it, both in terms of eating together and showing off for their family and friends,” McMullen said.

“When families eat together, it improves so many aspects of their lives. As customers’ lives begin to fill with soccer games, band practices and the busyness of daily life, we still see them making time to cook at home.”

McMullen credited Kroger’s more than 420,000 employees for the grocer’s customer service and community impact – especially its commitment to support the mission to create communities free from hunger and food waste through Kroger’s signature Zero Hunger | Zero Waste plan. McMullen said since the launch of the program in 2017, Kroger has donated billions of meals to help end hunger and millions of pounds of surplus fresh food to avoid waste.

Shay and McMullen also discussed Kroger’s recognition by Newsweek as one of “America’s Most Responsible Companies” for 2023. Companies are selected based on publicly available key performance indicators derived from Corporate Responsibility Reports, Corporate Citizen Reports or Sustainability Reports, as well as an independent survey.

For more information, visit thekrogerco.com.

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Featured Photo PLMA Annual Private Label Trade Show
Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
Chicago, Illinois
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