As a food manufacturer and retailer, Kroger is committed to being a leader in food safety. Food safety and quality assurance is the core of our operations across all facets of our business, including our retail supermarkets, manufacturing plants and distribution centers. Keeping food safe for our customers – no matter how they choose to shop with us – is part of everything we do, and a condition of working with Kroger for our suppliers and partners. We focus on exceeding expectations for food safety and quality – from our customers and associates to our Board of Directors and U.S. regulatory agencies.
Our goal is to train
of new store associates in food safety before they serve their first customer.
Kroger’s committed team of food safety experts focuses on risk prevention, continuous improvement and innovation in food protection. Our Risk Prevention Strategy extends across our entire business – our operating units and geographic areas – to ensure that all company-operated facilities meet or exceed all food safety laws and standards. We establish and maintain science-based food preparation and handling practices, and develop and implement programs to address emerging food safety topics. As the company has grown through the years by mergers, our Risk Prevention Strategy has remained an unconditional part of these operating agreements.
Focusing on prevention helps us manage known risks today and anticipate and address potential future issues. Kroger’s food safety team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to support our retail stores, manufacturing plants and distribution centers.
Download our full PDF report for an in-depth discussion of how Kroger manages food safety across our operations.
Across the country, food safety managers in our supermarket divisions help ensure compliance with all applicable federal, state and local regulations, oversee associate food safety training, coach store teams on food safety best practices, coordinate the store audit process and follow-up actions, and more. Each food safety manager also participates in food safety organizations and industry groups to stay informed of advances in food safety and share Kroger best practices that can benefit all consumers. Many also reach out to community groups and local schools to promote general food safety awareness and share tips to help our customers safely store, prepare and cook food at home.
In our retail operations, Kroger's Risk Prevention Strategy focuses on four main areas:
Today, we manufacture about 40% of Our Brands items at 36 Kroger-operated food processing plants across the country, and we offer our customers thousands of high-quality Our Brands items. Making safe, wholesome food is our highest priority. We apply our Risk Prevention Strategy to our manufacturing operations, meeting or exceeding all regulatory and industry-accepted standards and requirements. Highlights of our approach include:
Because our customers’ safety is the highest priority, Kroger is a leader in recall management and communications. We consistently meet and exceed industry and government standards for recalls and product withdrawals.
Kroger has an experienced Corporate Food Technology team of experts who coordinate recalls with suppliers, regulatory agencies and our own network of food safety specialists and recall managers. This 24-hour, seven-day-a-week process focuses on identifying items to be recalled or withdrawn from our distribution network and retail stores and working with the appropriate teams to ensure the recalled items are quickly removed from sale.
Kroger was one of the first retailers to implement a personalized customer notification system for certain types of recalls. Using our customer loyalty database, we can identify shoppers who may have purchased a specific recalled item. If a recall involves a possible health risk we immediately activate our notification systems to alert customers quickly through register receipt messages and automated phone calls.
When issues occur, we work quickly to recall or destroy affected products. We also investigate the issue, take corrective action, and modify or create programs to minimize or eliminate the problem in the future. Kroger also offers a toll-free Customer Service Center and information line staffed with professionals who can answer questions about food safety and items that may have been recalled.
Advancing Food Safety
Kroger continues to advance food safety through public policy advocacy and collaboration with industry partners. We are currently working with IBM and other leading companies across the global food supply chain on a major blockchain collaboration to further strengthen consumer confidence in the global food system. The group will work with IBM to identify new areas where the global supply chain can benefit from blockchain technology, such as improving product traceability and recall management.
We set quality and performance standards for Our Brands products, whether we make them ourselves or use an outside supplier. We measure our performance in several ways, including comments we receive through our customer call center and via email. A standard industry measure of product quality is the number of comments received per million units of product we make.
The graph below shows Kroger has achieved a 5.9% reduction in customer complaints since 2013. These results include data from all Our Brands products, including Kroger-manufactured products and those procured from outside suppliers. We closely monitor and focus on continuous improvement in this measure every year.
Customer Comments Per Million Our Brands Units