Kroger and Walgreens have been unmasked as the exclusive U.S. retail partners of Loop, a new online pantry and personal care item delivery service centered around reusable packaging.
Kroger officials said an in-store Loop experience may be on the horizon based on consumer response to the pilot program.
The service has been described by Loop founder and CEO Tom Szaky as a combination of the “sustainable, circular milkman model of yesterday with the convenience of e-commerce.” Szaky is also the founder of TerraCycle, the recycling company that pioneered the Loop project.
Revealed at the World Economic Forum in January, a pilot program is underway in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Washington, D.C., and offers more than 100 national brand items.
Jessica Adelman, Kroger's group VP of corporate affairs, said its Zero Hunger, Zero Waste program “aligns perfectly with Loop's mission to create a convenient circular packaging platform for consumers.”
Through the pilot, Members simply select their items—which come in reusable glass or metal containers—online, and schedule a delivery, which comes in a durable, reusable bag that features an external tamper seal. Customers keeps the foldable bag and can have it picked up for free to be refilled. The returned packages are cleaned and reused. Customers also have the option of scheduling automated refills.
There are no membership fees as of right now, but members are asked to pay one-time, refundable deposits on each container. For example, an order of almonds costs $9 with a $3 container deposit and a 12.6-ounce bottle of Pantene shampoo is $5.50 with a $2 deposit.
Delivery fees are based on the amount a customers spends: It’s $20 for orders less than $75, $15 for orders of $75 to $149.99, and $10 for orders $150 and up.
The program also offers razor refills, which could compete with the likes of Dollar General’s Shave Crew and Dollar Shave Club. A Gillette men’s razor costs $35 with a $5 deposit and a four-count refill package is $25; that compares to the less than $10 price point of Dollar General and $5 starter set with $26 restock box (including shave butter) from Dollar Shave Club.
Manufacturer partners include major companies such as P&G, Nestle and Unilever, with UPS acting as the delivery partner.