Kroger Recycles and Upcycles its Way to Less Waste

Late last week the Kroger Co. announced its innovative recycling program has hit a major milestone, recycling more than one million pieces of their Retail-owned Brand flexible plastic product packaging. The retailer shared it is offering customers more items with upcycled ingredients with the addition of two new Simple Truth products to advance sustainability.

“We are continually looking for creative and innovative solutions to support our vision of creating zero-waste communities,” said Juan De Paoli, vice president of Our Brands for Kroger. “Our customers sharing in that commitment by recycling packaging and purchasing products made with upcycled ingredients, alongside our efforts to advance sustainability, makes important progress toward eliminating waste and creating healthy, thriving communities.”

Kroger, the first retailer in the world to offer a free and easy flexible plastic packaging recycling program for its private brand products in collaboration with TerraCycle, has recycled more than one million pieces of packaging since the program began in 2020. The innovative program provides customers with free, prepaid shipping labels to mail in flexible plastic Our Brands packaging for recycling. The list of eligible products can be viewed at and customers may sign up here. The recycled materials are used to construct playgrounds donated by Kroger to youth and community organizations.

The retailer is also working toward its Zero Hunger | Zero Waste mission by expanding its product selection containing upcycled ingredients with the addition of Seeded Multigrain Bread and Multigrain Quinoa Bread to the Simple Truth sustainable lineup, both Upcycled Certified™ by the Upcycled Food Association (UFA). The designed from-scratch bread is blended with upcycled barley, wheat, and rye grains, with each variety topped with delectable ingredients like sunflower, flax, black sesame, pumpkin seeds, and quinoa.

Offering more than 1,500 unique items, Simple Truth promises customers products that are Free From unwanted ingredients, including more than 101 artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and sweeteners. Other Simple Truth Upcycled Certified products include Plant-Based Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix, Plant-Based Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix, Plant-Based Sugar Cookie Mix, and the new Simple Truth Gluten Free Banana Bread Mix made with upcycled okara flour.

The UFA, joined by Kroger in 2022, is the first of its kind trade association working to prevent food waste by accelerating the upcycled food economy. UFA is a network of more than 225 businesses from around the world collaborating to empower consumers to prevent food waste with the products they purchase.

By Published On: May 1st, 2023Tags:

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About the Author: Christopher Durham

Christopher Durham is the president of the Velocity Institute. Prior to this he founded the groundbreaking site My Private Brand. He is the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He began his retail career building brands at Food Lion and Lowe’s Home Improvement. Durham has worked with retailers around the world, including Albertsons, Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro Canada. Durham has published seven definitive books on private brands, including Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project and Vanguard: Vintage Originals.



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