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Kroger Celebrates Small Business Week and Offers Retail Partnership Guidebook to Advance Supplier Inclusion

May 12th, 2021

Retailer achieved $4.1 billion in diverse supplier spend in 2020  

CINCINNATI, May 7, 2021 – The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) today announced notable  progress and new initiatives – including the launch of its Small Business Resource  Guide – as part of its Framework for Action: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion plan,  featuring steps developed in collaboration with associates and leaders to accelerate and  promote greater change in the workplace and in the communities the organization  serves.

“In 2020, Kroger achieved $4.1 billion in diverse supplier spend, representing an  increase of 21% versus a year ago and build on our commitment to reach $10 billion in  diverse supplier spend by 2030. We remain committed to doing the work to advance our  longstanding and nationally recognized supplier inclusion program, reflecting  partnerships with entrepreneurs of color, women, and veterans as well as companies founded by the LGBTQ+ community and business operators with intellectual and  physical disabilities,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO. “Greater  racial, gender, health, and wealth equity will drive true and long-lasting change and  better outcomes in our country. And as America’s grocer, we’re honored to play a role in  driving this change as an employer, grocery provider, and community partner.”

Last year, Kroger introduced 107 new diverse suppliers, a 91% increase versus 2019.  Of these suppliers, five played a leading role in supplying Kroger personal protective  equipment during the peak of the COVID-19 public health crisis.

Small Busines Resource Guide 

In honor of National Small Business Week, today Kroger is publishing a Small Business  Resource Guide developed to help brands and producers establish and grow retail  partnerships. The free downloadable resource shares best practices on product  development, pricing, supply chain, promotion, research and preparation, outreach, and  partnership development.

“Through Kroger’s supplier inclusion program, we support, mentor, promote, and grow  diverse-owned enterprises across our thriving operation. We currently work with more  than 1,600 diverse suppliers, ranging from food and beverage to health and beauty and  product distributors to service providers,” said Angel Colón, Kroger’s senior director of  corporate and supplier diversity. “As a member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable, we  continue to partner with diverse businesses in innovative ways, including by investing in  incubators and accelerators, expanding relationships with existing partners, hosting and  participating in supplier summits, and through partnerships with leading certifying  agencies.

“We believe our recently published Small Business Resource Guide, featuring  partnership success spotlights from companies like Cacique, 4Sisters Rice,  TrueChoicePack, and True Shea, will be a useful tool for many companies and help us  as we continue to seek out new partners and expand existing relationships,” continued  Colón.

Supplier Inclusion Innovation Summit 

As a part of Kroger’s commitment to advance diverse partnerships, earlier this year the  company hosted its 3rd annual Supplier Inclusion Innovation Summit. Prior to the event,  Kroger’s supplier inclusion and category leadership teams, alongside certifying  agencies like the National Minority Supplier Development Council, Women’s Business  Enterprise National Council, National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, National Veteran  Business Development Council, and U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce,  reviewed hundreds of event applicants and invited 25 suppliers to attend. During the  event, participants received coaching from Kroger merchandising, business  development, and supplier inclusion leaders and the opportunity to pitch their products.

During the Summit, Kroger also announced winners for its Sustainable Business Award  of the Year: Admiralty Island Fisheries, Inc.; New Vendor Award: DeeBee’s Organics; and Supplier Inclusion Advocate of the Year: Kroger Category Manager Diana Krauser.

Multicultural Entrepreneurship Development Program 

Kroger has also recently joined P&G and MORTAR – a Cincinnati-based accelerator providing historically marginalized entrepreneurs access to resources to start and run  successful businesses – to pilot the Multicultural Entrepreneurship Development  program, focusing on enabling entrepreneurs to reach their fullest potential. The multi month program launched last month and runs through the summer.

“Kroger is elated to welcome, share insights, and present industry-leading business  development curriculum as well as learn from the inaugural cohort of 13 local  entrepreneurs,” said Tim Massa, Kroger’s chief people officer. “Stronger diverse  businesses create stronger communities and produces greater innovation and  collaboration. At Kroger, we remain focused on continuing to grow our business to  better serve our associates and customers, so it’s imperative that we continue to find  new ways to listen and learn, uplift other businesses, and bring in additional  perspectives and products.”

Go Fresh & Local Supplier Accelerator  

Relatedly, later this month, Kroger will launch an open call inviting local and regional  fresh food producers to participate in its search for new and innovative suppliers. Kroger  will share more information about this event soon.

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To learn more about Kroger’s Framework for Action: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion plan,  visit TheKrogerCo.com/StandingTogether.

About Kroger 

At The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR), we are dedicated to our Purpose: to Feed the Human  Spirit™. We are nearly half a million associates who serve over nine million customers  daily through a seamless digital shopping experience and 2,800 retail food stores under  a variety of banner names, serving America through food inspiration and uplift, and  creating #ZeroHungerZeroWaste communities by 2025. To learn more about us, visit  our newsroom and investor relations site.

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Contacts 

Kroger

Media: Kristal Howard, (513) 762-1304

Investors: Rebekah Manis, (513) 762-4969