Last week I had the honor of flying out to Cincinnati, Ohio for the first ever Kroger Influencer Council Think Tank Blogger Banquet. There I had the opportunity to learn more about Kroger’s digital innovations, explore their largest market for fresh ingredients and meet up with a group of amazingly talented bloggers to cook a “Christmas in October” feast.
We started our day at 8am, meeting in the hotel lobby. Not going to lie, I was very nervous about meeting other bloggers. It’s a competitive industry and with all the talent out there I couldn’t believe I was meeting some of the coolest people around. From there we walked to Kroger Headquarters and had breakfast with a round of introductions. The Kroger team was kind enough to order me a special meal, as I was the only vegan attending. I greatly appreciate anyone that goes out of their way to accommodate me. The team also surprised us with a little gift. Full of our top purchases from Kroger and/or Fred Meyers. Mine of course included shredded coconut, a lime, roasted sunflower seeds, oreos and popcorn. They know me oh so well!
We followed that up by learning all about ClickList and it’s future upgrades and improvements. If you’re not familiar with ClickList – it’s an amazing way to order groceries from the comfort of your own home. Schedule ahead a pick-up time and drive to your local Kroger or Fred Meyers (without leaving your car). The ClickList team loads it up for you, making it the perfect way to tackle the task and save a ton of time and money in the process. While I don’t have children, I can imagine how useful this would be for parents or single parents that are juggling between work and after school activities. My mom always said it was a nightmare taking the four of us grocery shopping – can you imagine not having to lug the kiddos to the store and deal with random items being added to the cart?!
I think my favorite aspect about ClickList is having the ability to group together your go-to/favorites to make reordering easier each time. I’m a creature of habit and always pick up the same basic staples (i.e. greens, grains, frozen fruits). Having those automatically listed as my “Favorites” based on seeing how frequently I’m buying them (tracked through your Kroger Plus card) makes the process of ordering that much faster. Within 10 minutes I have everything in my cart and I can pick it all up anytime the following day. I’ve heard that at some locations it’s even an option to do same day pick-up. So planning is needed if you’re scheduling ahead, but regardless you’re saving time not having to walk around the store. Giving you more time to be with your loved ones and cook delicious meals at home!
ClickList isn’t currently available at every Kroger and/or Fred Meyers location, you can however check online and see where it’s currently available near you. New locations are being added every month, so check back to see if it’s at a store near you in a few weeks and definitely give it a try. I love the aspect of creating my grocery list, putting everything together with correlating coupons and getting my essentials quickly without any hassle involved.
Following up with breakfast and a first-hand look at the new ClickList features, we had a chance to get silly in a custom made photo booth and then went up a few floors to meet some of Kroger’s finest executives. There we learned a little background on the company, a quick lesson on corporate marketing and product development. We also got a sneak peek look at some exciting new items coming very soon to all Kroger stores. If you aren’t already familiar with the line of kombucha from Simple Truth Organic, you NEED to try all of these flavors. I’m obsessed! It’s a tie between the Blueberry Grape and Raspberry Hibiscus, I’m guilty of stocking up on all of them each week though.
After a quick history lesson on Kroger we followed that up with lunch, made using items from the Private Selection and Simple Truth brands sold exclusively at Kroger. I had the most amazing squash soup and mixed green salad with a lemon chia dressing. Can’t wait to pick up a bottle of it!
Since this was a Christmas in October event, after lunch we changed into our very fashion forward Christmas sweaters and hopped on a party bus to sing Christmas carols all the way to Oakley Station, which just so happens to be the largest Kroger marketplace in the United States. It was glorious! We had the opportunity to learn about everything that location offers, where certain products are sourced from and sample a few things in the process.
Then time came to do our own shopping. I picked up everything I needed to make about twelve servings of my Shepard’s Pie Stuffed Acorn Squash (recipe coming soon!). We made our way to a commercial kitchen and started cooking. This was the highlight of the trip for me. Being able to cook with people who love to cook, it doesn’t get any better than that. I had a ton of leftover ingredients, so with the extra filling and mashed potatoes, Kevin from FitMenCook made a few dishes. While Kevin himself isn’t vegan, I really enjoyed watching him create something new using my leftovers. It definitely inspired me to get even more creative this year with my Thanksgiving leftovers.
Learning about everyone’s dish and breaking bread was the perfect way to end the night. The lovely Lena from Lena’s Kitchen made a special bowl of her pasta dish totally vegan for me. Topped with roasted butternut squash, browned vegan butter, chopped toasted hazelnuts, roasted garlic, sun dried tomatoes, crispy fried sage and coarse salt – it was absolutely incredible! I blame her for my recent pasta addiction, I can’t stop playing about with different combos now. Carbs are my life. Pasta is perfection.
I learned on this trip that it’s so important to respect where I am in this moment of time and stay humble every step of the way. Being self taught and progressively learning more to further expand my skills is the foundation of my trade. I work hard every single day to get better and keep my mind open to absorbing new information for consistent growth.
I’m so happy I was able to network with other bloggers and see a different perspective to this industry. It’s vast and ever-growing, full of possibilities and amazing opportunities.
Huge thank you to Kroger for making my dreams come true. Andrew, Jorie and the amazing Kroger social media team – it was an absolute pleasure meeting all of you and spending time together! I look forward to the possibility of attending another event like this in the future.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Kroger. The opinions and text are all mine.