How to Get Your Product into Ralph’s Grocery Stores
The average American family, according to the USDA, spends almost 10 percent of their annual income on food. While dinner for four at an expensive restaurant can easily cost you in the triple digits, the majority of food expenses come from grocery store visits. Another estimate finds that a family of four will spend anywhere between $712 and $1,106 per month for groceries. For low carb food brands seeking to gain a foothold in the market, there is no better or steadier market than retail grocery stores. Ralph’s Grocery Stores are one of the largest grocery store chains on the west coast, with a massive amount of loyal customers located in the populated regions of southern California.
Ralph’s Grocery Stores
Unless you live in Southern California, chances are you haven’t had the pleasure of shopping at a Ralph’s. The chain was founded almost 150 years ago and today has well over 200 locations, mostly in California, though it also operates in several other states located west of the Mississippi River. After being acquired by Fred Meyer, another major grocery store chain in 1997, Ralph’s Supermarket eventually merged with the Kroger Company. This Cincinnati-based company is one of the largest grocers in the country, with hundreds of stores across the central, southern, and eastern parts of the country.
For food brands looking to get their product into Ralph’s Grocery Stores, the application process goes through The Kroger Company, which acts as the “parent” company. Below, we offer a detailed explanation of how food brands can contact and subsequently market their food products to Ralph’s Supermarket and any of the other grocery stores owned by The Kroger Company, including the grocery stores “Foods for Less” and “Food Co.”, which also operate exclusively on the West Coast.
Advantages of Becoming a Supplier at Ralph’s
As we mentioned above, Ralph´s is one of the most popular supermarket chains in southern California, where about 24 million people live. This region of the country is often associated with progressive thinking, a fit lifestyle, and a focus on healthy, organic, and environmentally sustainable consumer products. This demographic offers a vital marketing opportunity for food brands looking to develop a sound customer base.
Furthermore, The Kroger Company makes a specific commitment to suppliers who come from minority and underrepresented segments of the population. Their website states explicitly that “the goal of Kroger’s Supplier Diversity Program is to foster the promotion, growth and development of minority, women and other diverse owned enterprises…the program has played an important role in developing Kroger’s diverse suppliers by assisting them with analyzing their business capabilities to determine whether their products or services fit within Kroger’s corporate strategies and the marketplace as a whole.” Minority business owners who operate low carb food brands, then, should be able to find a unique sense of acceptance at Kroger and Ralph´s supermarkets.
How to Get Your Low Carb Food Product into Ralph’s Supermarket?
The Kroger Company (and its subsidiary Ralph’s supermarket) is a national leader in the distribution and merchandising of food, pharmacy, health, and personal care items, seasonal merchandise, and other related products and services. According to their website, “we place considerable importance on forging strong supplier partnerships. Our suppliers, large or small, local or global, are essential components in accomplishing our mission.”
While Ralph´s and Kroger carry thousands of products manufactured by a diverse supplier base, they give considerable attention to the issue of locally-produced, healthier food alternatives. According to one recent estimate, 84 percent of consumers have purchased locally produced organic food in the past year. Grocery stores like Ralph´s and Kroger take notice of this critical consumer trend and are thus continually searching for a more stable base of local suppliers for the products they carry on their shelves. The company states that “at Kroger, we make it a priority to source locally. After all, it’s important to support our neighbors — and sourcing locally helps us provide our customers with the freshest products possible!”
One of the apparent benefits of working with this company is that they are present in most regions of the country. If your food brand is based out of southern California and sources many of the main ingredients in your product list from local, organic growers, your product stands a good chance of being sold at Ralph’s. If you are located in Ohio, however, the parent company also has hundreds of grocery stores in that region as well under the name of Kroger Supermarkets.
The application process with The Kroger Company is relatively straightforward and only requires potential suppliers to fill out an application that you can access here. If you are having trouble completing the requested and required information, The Kroger Company offers several “help documents” to guide you through the application process. You can find those documents here.
If your product is accepted to be sold at Ralph’s, Kroger, or any of the other grocery store chains they operate, your brand will have to use Kroger’s centralized vendor management system, called The Supplier Hub. Kroger requires its vendors and suppliers to use this hub to assess for compliance and to facilitate communication. If your brand has received an email invitation to sign up for the Supplier Hub with a user ID and password, you can log in here.
Lastly, vendors that are awarded contracts for selling with Ralph´s or Kroger will need to have extensive documentation and certification prepared to make sure that your brand and product are compliant with Kroger´s diverse requirements. Some of this documentation includes:
• DUNS# (Dun and Bradstreet number): You can search for this within the Supplier Hub website.
• SVA(2017 version or later)
• Certificate of Insurance, such as:
• Professional Vendor
• IT Service Providers
• Dedicated 3rd Party Trucking
• Dedicated Manufacturing 3rd Party
• Non-Dedicated Common Carriers
• Product & Other Vendors
You can find a complete list of potential certifications or documentation that your brand or product will need to supply here.