Kroger has revamped a Signature store in Houston to include several features geared toward the area’s majority Hispanic population, according to reporting from the Houston Chronicle.
In addition to bilingual signage, the newly remodeled store also includes some unique product offerings, including the chain’s first-ever assortment of fresh, store-made ceviche. The ceviche offering is in test and could be rolled out to additional locations, according to the report.
A search of the store’s website by Supermarket News for a pick-up order of ceviche yielded four varieties — Mango Habanero Ceviche, Coconut Ceviche, and both Mild and Hot Aguachile Ceviche. All were priced at $6.99 for a 14-ounce portion.
The store is also the first Kroger to offer a juice bar — or bar de jugos — featuring fresh-squeezed, bottled juices such as green smoothies and spicy mango, according to the article in the Chronicle. The juice bar also features fresh-cut fruit, including some marinated in traditional chamoy and tajin seasoning.
The store has added over 900 new, authentic products in all, a spokesperson for Kroger’s Houston Division told Supermarket News. They include:
- 17 varieties of exclusive fresh-cut queso and crema like Cojita Seco, Pandero, Asadero, Oaxaca, and Crema Menonita
- Meat cuts like thinly sliced and offal (organs) as well as marinated varieties like pollo asado and adobo
- Whole fish and head-on shrimp
- Fresh, in-store made tortillas
- Expanded selection of chicharrónes (pork rinds)
- Pan dulce (sweet breads)
- Tres leches cakes
- Regional candies and helados (ice cream)
- New beverage set with brands like Kui (coconut milk blended drinks)
- Isotonics set with brands SueroX, Hydrolit, and Electrolit
- Expanded selection of tropical veggies and fruits like nopales (cactus paddles)
- Bulk bean and rice bins
- 24-foot Goya section
- Expanded Bimbo sweet goods and cookies
- Religious candle integration in floral
- Expanded selection of cleaning supply brands, including Pinalen and Cloralen
- Expanded selection of feminine hygiene products, including Saba
The store features “thoughtfully curated touches of Mexican traditions, flavors, and customs” throughout, the spokesperson said.
“As we were developing the store layout and merchandising scheme, it was important to create an experience inclusive of all customers while accentuating the vibrant Hispanic culture shaped by an overwhelming majority of our customers at this store,” they said.
Although the store might be the first Kroger location to feature some of these offerings under the Kroger banner, Kroger’s Fry’s division in Arizona has long operated a format called Fry’s Mercado. It debuted the Fry’s Mercado concept in 2006 at a remodeled 66,000-square foot store in Phoenix, complete with an in-store tortillaria and leased space for independent merchants selling clothing, jewelry, and accessories, much like some other traditional Mexican supermarkets.
Several other traditional supermarkets have sought to rebrand some locations to appeal to Hispanic consumers, including the United Supermarkets division Albertsons in Texas and New Mexico, which operates several stores under the Amigos banner, and Publix Super Markets, which at one time operated several locations under the Publix Sabor banner.
In Arizona, the Bashas’ division of Raley’s has long operated the Food City chain, which carries “aisles of traditional Mexican foods” to serve the local Hispanic communities where it operates, according to the chain’s website.
In Houston, the newly remodeled Kroger store will compete with several established retailers that appeal to Hispanic consumers, including H-E-B and its Mi Tienda format, and La Michoacana Supermarket, which is the largest Hispanic-focused grocery chain in the U.S., according to its website, and operates several locations in Houston, where it first opened in 1986.