US retail giant Kroger has joined forces with local investor MidOcean Partners to create a platform to support nascent CPG brands and source investment opportunities.
MPearlRock, which builds on Kroger’s consumer product investment platform PearlRock Partners, has been described as a “strategic collaboration to introduce emerging consumer packaged goods brands to new customers”.
The platform will focus on brands that are “positively disrupting the food and beverage industry, including via distribution, in-store testing, manufacturing and bulk procurement, supply chain and back-office support, data analytics, talent acquisition, and operations”, to accelerate their next stage of growth.
The venture will also “leverage insights” into retail data from 84.51˚°, Kroger’s retail data science and precision marketing partner.
Former Coca-Cola executive Brian Kelley has been named as CEO of MPearlRock.
Erik Oken, chairman of MidOcean’s private-equity business, said: “We are pleased to work with Kroger, PearlRock and 84.51˚° to establish MPearlRock, which builds upon our commitment to transforming consumer-focused companies through collaborations.
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“We believe the strategic pairing of MidOcean’s capabilities with Kroger, robust data science and consumer insights capabilities and deep industry relationships will create an unrivalled collaboration to support the leading brands of tomorrow.”
Yael Cosset, chief information officer of Kroger, said: “MidOcean has a long-standing track record of successful investing in consumer brands. Combining its investing expertise with customer insights from Kroger and 84.51° will mean brands can introduce the right product to the right customer at the right time. For the customer, it will mean more convenient opportunities to discover new products they love. This collaboration is an important step toward significant, sustainable growth for leading-edge food and beverage companies.”
Platform CEO Kelley added: “As consumers look to engage with more personalised, entrepreneurial products, we believe MPearlRock is well positioned to source investment opportunities in innovative CPG brands and deliver the foundational resources these brands require to meaningfully grow. We are confident that the experience and resources of our trusted collaborators, MidOcean and Kroger, will enable MPearlRock to make superior investment decisions across the CPG sector.”
New York-based MidOcean has food businesses in its portfolio, including Louisiana Fish Fry and Casper’s Ice Cream.
Kroger and Albertsons – two of the largest grocery retailers in the US – are looking to join forces through a merger.
However, the deal has yet to be given the green light by regulators in the US and has seen some political opposition in the country.
In September, the retailers set out a plan to sell more than 400 stores to C&S Wholesale Grocers to secure regulatory approval for the mega-merger.