As the engine of the retail pharmacy division of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens operates 9,560 drugstores with a presence in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. That scale has allowed the retailer to become far more experimental than its drugstore peers with its fresh food offerings and related exploratory partnerships, including with The Kroger Co., for which it teamed in the past year to open designated Kroger Express sections in 13 of its stores in northern Kentucky. Featuring a curated assortment of 2,300 products, including Home Chef meal kits and a variety of Kroger private brands such as Simple Truth, plus some fresh and frozen items, Walgreens said it would expand the concept from the original Kentucky test market, including taking Home Chef Express meal kits into 65 locations in the Chicago area. Walgreens’ alliance with Kroger as a pickup point for Kroger’s online grocery orders began in autumn 2018. It remains to be seen if the Kroger Express concept takes off, as well as whether there are mutual advantages for both retailers.