- Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods, a spinoff of the former Ukrop’s Super Markets, announced it’s extending its line of prepared foods, baked goods and custom cakes to retailers along the East Coast, including select Kroger and Wegman’s stores, according to Supermarket News.
- The announcement comes at the tail end of an exclusive supply contract Ukrop’s had with Martin’s stores, which took over Ukrop’s stores after parent company Ahold purchased Ukrop’s in 2010.
- The Ukrop’s name is well known in Richmond. According to a survey commissioned by the company, 66% of consumers say they’re more likely to shop at a store that carries Ukrop’s branded products.
The fact that Ukrop’s couldn’t survive as a retail chain despite a fiercely loyal following and nearly 75 years in the business shows just how tough the supermarket industry is these days.
But the fact that it can survive and thrive as a prepared foods manufacturer shows that opportunities still abound.
With its exclusive contract with Martin’s at an end, Ukrop’s Homestyle Foods can now offer its branded RTE and frozen entrees, sides, and baked goods to other retailers in the region where it made its name. That loyal following should provide a strong foundation from which to grow into new markets. Ukrop’s already sells its White House Dinner Rolls and a few other items to stores outside of Richmond, including BJ’s and The Fresh Market.
With prepared foods sales on the rise and retailers like Whole Foods outsourcing their kitchen prep, supermarkets are on the lookout for quality suppliers. According to a survey conducted by The Food Institute and Technomic, fresh prepared food sales grew $15 billion, or 10.4% yearly, between 2006 and 2014.
With its expertise and high level of execution, Ukrop’s makes for an attractive supplier. Its experience in food retail may also give it a leg-up in meeting supermarkets’ needs. But it remains to be seen whether the company will resonate in areas that don’t know the Ukrop’s name.