Kroger Pilots 30-Minute Grocery Deliveries in Cincinnati Area

In the never-ending quest for delivery immediacy, grocer Kroger is testing out 30-minute deliveries in its home market of Cincinnati, cutting the promised time from Amazon’s Prime Now in half, according to the Cincinnati Business Courier.

Called Kroger Rush, the service costs $5.95 per order, with the first order free, and requires an app download. It’s available to customers within a three-mile radius of stores in Oakley, OH and Newport, KY. Items available include ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat meals, produce, beverages, meat, dairy, bakery and pantry products.

Jessica Adelman, group vice president of corporate affairs for Kroger, told the Business Courier that Kroger Rush may end up leveraging technology from partner Ocado. The UK-based grocer and technology provider broke ground on the first of 20 fulfillment centers in Ohio last week. Ocado itself is testing one-hour delivery in London, mostly using couriers on mopeds. Kroger has also taken a 5% stake in Ocado.

“That’s an area where you’ll possibly see those worlds dovetailing,” Adelman said. “Maybe Ocado robots will do the picking for a (Kroger) rush solution.” That would be some time off, as the first Ocado-built FC isn’t scheduled to begin operation until 2021. The company is also testing delivery via autonomous vehicle in Phoenix, AZ with Nuro.

The company reported $37.3 billion in first quarter sales, down slightly from 2018 due to the sale of its convenience store business. However, digital sales increased a healthy 42%, which is where the chain sees its future growth and is placing most of its investment bets.