Kroger Central Hosts First ‘Produce University’

CINCINNATI — Kroger Co. [2] for the first time hosted a Produce University orchestrated by Frieda’s Inc. at selected stores in its central division, which includes Indiana and Illinois.

The Los Alamitos, Calif.-based specialty produce company, which regularly conducts “Produce Universities” for retailers across the country, dubbed the event last month at Kroger stores, a “Fresh Twist on Holiday Cooking.”

Asian pears were one of the popular items sampled.

In addition to offering samples of the fruits to customers, Kroger’s produce managers handed out a recipe for Five Spice Asian Pear and Jicama Salad, a Frieda’s spokeswoman told SN. “That recipe combines lettuce, raisins, Frieda’s jicama and Asian pears with a homemade apple-cider cream dressing.”

The open-house-type event, which ran from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on a recent Saturday, gave customers an opportunity to taste a variety of fall produce items they may not have been familiar with.

Featured, in addition to Asian pears, were Fuyu persimmons, jicama, Frieda’s-style crepes, pine nuts, dried “Tomato Toss” mix and Zululand Queen baby pineapples. Produce managers and associates showed shoppers how to use the items for holiday meals and everyday cooking.

“Produce University gives our produce teams the opportunity to share their knowledge and expertise while encouraging our customers to try something new,” Gregg Proctor, produce merchandiser for Kroger’s central division, said in a release.

Each Produce University session begins weeks in advance with produce manager training seminars to familiarize the teams with the featured products. Frieda’s marketing team provides in-depth information on each item, in addition to point-of-sale signage and informational brochures.