Grocery retail giant Kroger, which sold over 40 million pieces of sushi last year, is now the United States’ biggest sushi seller.
Their strategy: Kroger, which boasts a sprawling network of over 2,700 stores across the country, achieved the feat by offering sushi at two-thirds of its outlets, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing data from research firm Circana Group.
“When customers think of sushi, we want them to think of Kroger,” Stuart Aitken, chief merchant and marketing officer at Kroger, was quoted as saying.
Rise of grocery store sushi: The Circana report revealed that sushi exhibited a 72% surge in sales at U.S. retailers, with Americans purchasing 43.7 million servings of sushi at grocery stores and 238.6 million servings from restaurants over the past year.
Circana noted that grocery store sushi accounted for approximately 15% of the sushi consumed by Americans last year. It observed that the allure of readily available, budget-friendly sushi packages has escalated in appeal, becoming an enticing on-the-go meal or convenient snack option for many.
Sushi-selling success: Kroger has strategically improved its sushi operations since it started selling the Japanese delicacy in 1991. Over the years, it has also expanded its offerings to encompass a variety of Asian cuisine, including seaweed salads, poke bowls and dumplings.
Kroger’s early venture into sushi allowed it to outsell other large-scale supermarket chains that similarly dabbled in sushi offerings, including industry leaders Whole Foods and Albertson’s. A spokesperson for Kroger told Business Insider that the retail giant’s most popular cooked sushi last year was the California Crunch roll, while its most popular raw sushi was the Rainbow Roll.