6 Secrets Kroger Doesn't Want You to Know
Here's your inside scoop on the supermarket chain, courtesy of retail experts.
When it comes to shopping for groceries, Kroger is a go-to for millions of customers thanks to its sheer size alone. The supermarket chain is the largest dedicated grocer in the U.S., with about 2,800 stores under its umbrella—including the King Soopers, Dillons, and Ralphs brands—that span 35 states. That means that practically no matter where you live, there's a good chance there's one nearby. But even if you're a regular customer, there are a few things about the company you're probably unaware of. Read on for the secrets Kroger doesn't want you to know.
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You're being convinced to buy more than you need.
Getting through the grocery store and sticking just to the items on your shopping list is an impressive feat. But according to experts, supermarkets are set up in such a way that avoiding those extra products in your cart is more challenging than you might realize.
"Grocery stores—including Kroger—use various retail tricks like creating tempting food displays, placing daily essentials at the back of the store, strategically placed sale items, water squirts on produce to make it look fresher, and more to get you to buy more and spend more, which is much easier to do when you shop in person. In fact, grocery stores make a big profit off your impulse purchases," consumer expert Andrea Woroch tells Best Life.
You could be saving money on gas.
The pain felt at the pump has been all too real lately. Sky-high prices have made any kind of discount a huge help towards keeping your budget from running on empty. But there's also a way that your go-to grocer can help you save some funds while filling up.
"Kroger's Fuel Points program helps you save at the pump, but you could save even more by buying gift cards through Kroger," says Katie Roberts, consumer analyst with DealNews.com. "While Kroger offers a Fuel Point for every buck you spend, you can get twice the Fuel Points on gift card purchases."
"Kroger gives shoppers 10 cents off per gallon when they earn 100 points, so with this method, you should only have to spend $50 instead of $100 to get those savings," she explains. "Just make sure you get gift cards you're actually going to use to receive the most benefit. You can also find other opportunities for scoring bonus Fuel Points through Kroger's online promotions page."
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You can try Kroger brand products risk-free.
One of the easiest ways to stay within budget can be to swap out a name brand for a store brand version—especially as grocery prices are shooting up. Of course, this can be difficult for anyone who is fiercely brand-loyal or concerned about sacrificing quality for the sake of saving a little bit. But experts point out that a little-known Kroger policy makes it easy to try out their items risk-free.
"Kroger's Brand Promise says if you don't like one of their products, you can get the comparable national brand for free," Woroch points out.
There are special pickup and delivery savings.
Anyone with a busy schedule knows how convenient having your groceries dropped off or packed and waiting for you at the store can be. But besides being a terrific modern convenience, you could also save some money while saving time.
"If you're planning to order groceries through Kroger's pickup or delivery services, make sure you check their pickup and delivery savings when you're shopping," Roberts suggests. "You can find these coupons on the promotions page on Kroger's website, and they give you discounts for buying certain items that you wouldn't get through shopping in-store."
Those who haven't used the services yet have a particularly good incentive to try them out. "You could also get extra savings if it's your first delivery or pickup order. One promotion I saw offered $15 off the first pickup or delivery order for shoppers who spent at least $75," Roberts says.
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Kroger's credit card may not get you the most rewards.
Kroger shoppers often consider the store's co-branded credit card to help them get a little back on their purchases. However, there's more to the equation if you're looking to maximize your rewards.
"Kroger's World Elite Mastercard sounds appealing by offering 5 percent cash back on mobile wallet purchases and 2 percent back on all store purchases, but there are some limits and exclusions that you should consider before signing up," Woroch warns. "First, the 5 percent cash back is limited to purchases made with mobile wallet orders only and is capped at a total of $3,000 per year. That means, if you spend more than $3,000 on groceries, you will only earn 1 percent after you hit the spending cap."
"What's more, the 2 percent cash back excludes Kroger fuel stations, and the added 25-cent savings on fuel is only valid if you redeem 100 Kroger reward points at the time of transaction. Keep in mind, you won't earn extra rewards on groceries bought at other stores either," she explains. "And, if you spend more on other types of expenses such as travel or gas, this card won't get you maximum rewards."
"For this reason, you are better off going with a flat-rate cash-back like the Bread Cashback American Express card, which offers an unlimited 2 percent back on everything you buy—and it's good at every store," she suggests. "Plus, there's no spending limit, so you'll earn more throughout the entire year."
You can support local charities just by shopping.
No matter the occasion, it always feels good to know you're doing your part to help a good cause. And when it comes to something you do as regularly as grocery shopping, many are surprised to know that their Kroger purchases can actually be a way to give back.
"You can support local organizations you care about by participating in the retailer's Community Rewards program," Roberts tells Best Life. "You'll have to create a digital account through Kroger. But then you just sign in, make sure your Shopper's Card is linked to your account, and search for and select the organization you want to support."
Just make sure you set everything up correctly before you start swiping at the checkout. "It's important to select a preferred Kroger store, too, so you can see the participating organizations. Then, just shop at Kroger and use your Shopper's Card as normal," she explains. "Kroger will make a donation to the organization based on a percentage of spending. Since it's so easy to set up, why not do some good while you shop?"