Kroger opens new local center to help it make better food for its stores

Chefs at Kroger's Culinary Innovation Center, a state-of-the-art test kitchen and education center in downtown Cincinnati.  From left, first row: Kathy Klingensmith, senior culinary chef for Our Brands; Shelly Thompson, product development chef; and Chad Desormeaux; culinary innovation chef. From left, second row: Brandon Fortener; product development chef; Alissa Weldy, culinary assistant; and Paul Sturkey, product development chef.
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Chefs at Kroger's Culinary Innovation Center, a state-of-the-art test kitchen and education center in downtown Cincinnati. From left, first row: Kathy Klingensmith, senior culinary chef for Our Brands; Shelly Thompson, product development chef; and Chad Desormeaux; culinary innovation chef. From left, second row: Brandon Fortener; product development chef; Alissa Weldy, culinary assistant; and Paul Sturkey, product development chef.

Kroger said today it has opened its Culinary Innovation Center, a state-of-the-art test kitchen and education center in downtown Cincinnati.

Kroger started construction on the 12,000-square-foot, LEED-designed center last March. The commercial kitchen features multiple cooking stations, spaces and capabilities, including technology that allows video streaming of educational sessions to Kroger associates across the country.

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“The center gives our culinary team a fun, modern space to innovate and experiment with food trends, flavors, and ingredients to create new experiences for our customers,” said Daniel Hammer, Kroger’s vice president of culinary development and new business.

Kroger introduced its first restaurant concept Kitchen 1883 in November and launched its Prep+Pared Meal Kits earlier in the same year, which are available for purchase in stores and through ClickList. Kroger has plans to rapidly grow the footprint of Prep+Pared Meal Kits in 2018.

“Kroger has operated grocery stores since 1883; we know food,” Hammer said. “People will always eat, but the way they eat will always change. Our new center is one more tool we have to keep our pulse on customer trends and expand our foodie culture.”

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