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Kroger to Require Produce Suppliers to Protect Pollinators, Biodiversity

Jan. 26, 2024
New sustainability goal means produce suppliers must comply and use integrated pest management practices in the next four to six years.

The Kroger Co. will require all its fresh produce suppliers to use integrated pest management (IPM) practices for all products supplied to the grocer by 2028 or 2030, dependent upon the produce grower’s size, the company announced. Medium to large growers will be expected to meet the goal by the end of 2028, and small-sized growers by 2030. Kroger aims to protect pollinators and biodiversity through the new sustainability goal, the release noted.

Kroger believes the encouragement of produce suppliers to use less pesticides will help improve pollinator health outcomes, and it builds upon the company’s existing focus on conserving natural resources in the supply chain — including Kroger’s seafood sustainability and no-deforestation commitments in its “Thriving Together” strategy.

The new goal was developed in conjunction with the Sustainable Food Group, a branch of IPM Institute of North America. The duo also devised a roadmap for suppliers to come into compliance, and Kroger interviewed suppliers to ensure the goal would be impactful and achievable.

Suppliers can comply by achieving one of the following certifications:

  • Bee Better
  • Biodynamic
  • Certified Sustainably Grown
  • Equitable Food Initiative
  • Fair Trade International
  • Fair Trade USA
  • Global G.A.P.
  • LEAF Marque
  • MPS-ABC
  • Rainforest Alliance
  • Regenerative Organic
  • Sustainable Food Group Sustainability Standard
  • USDA Organic, or international equivalents

Kroger added that it has plans to conduct a supply chain biodiversity risk assessment, pilot biodiversity metrics with row crop and specialty crop suppliers and conduct targeted climate risk assessments within its supply chain.

About the Author

Andy Hanacek | Senior Editor

Andy Hanacek has covered meat, poultry, bakery and snack foods as a B2B editor for nearly 20 years, and has toured hundreds of processing plants and food companies, sharing stories of innovation and technological advancement throughout the food supply chain. In 2018, he won a Folio:Eddie Award for his unique "From the Editor's Desk" video blogs, and he has brought home additional awards from Folio and ASBPE over the years. In addition, Hanacek led the Meat Industry Hall of Fame for several years and was vice president of communications for We R Food Safety, a food safety software and consulting company.