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Kroger Launches 'Naturally Preferred' Brand of Premium Natural and Organic Products Nationwide

CINCINNATI, April 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Kroger Co. (NYSE:KR) today announced the official national launch of Naturally Preferred, its own brand of premium-quality natural and organic products now available to all of the Company's nearly 2,500 stores.

With approximately 140 items offered under the Naturally Preferred label, the national rollout ranks as one of the larger brand launches in Kroger's 120-year history.

"Our 'Naturally Preferred' brand creates value for our customers by offering a wide variety of high-quality natural and organic products that are an affordable alternative to more expensive national brands," said Don McGeorge, Kroger executive vice president.

A broad variety of products are now available under the Naturally Preferred label, including baby food, pastas, cereal, snacks, milk and soy items. All items must pass a rigorous taste and performance evaluation before they can earn the Naturally Preferred label. Only the finest quality, premium products are accepted.

Every Naturally Preferred item carries a satisfaction guarantee. If customers are not completely satisfied with any item, they can exchange it for their favorite national brand or receive a full refund.

Although certain Naturally Preferred items have been available in Kroger- owned stores around the country for more than a year, Mr. McGeorge said Kroger has now achieved the "critical mass" necessary to ensure the long-term success of the brand. He also said customers can expect to see an even greater variety of Naturally Preferred items in the future as Kroger expands the brand across additional categories.

"Naturally Preferred is our ultimate loyalty program because customers can buy this premium brand only in our stores," said Mr. McGeorge.

The national launch is being supported by a new marketing campaign that features the tag line, "Health Conscious, Earth Conscious." The campaign includes newspaper ads in some markets, in-store signage programs and product demonstrations. Many stores will be offering consumers an opportunity to sample Naturally Preferred items.

Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, Kroger is one of the nation's largest retail grocery chains. At the end of the fiscal 2002, the Company operated (either directly or through its subsidiaries) 2,488 supermarkets and multi- department stores in 32 states under approximately two dozen banners including Kroger, Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Food 4 Less, King Soopers, Smith's, Fry's and Fry's Marketplace, Dillons, QFC and City Market. Kroger also operated (either directly or through its subsidiaries) 784 convenience stores, 441 fine jewelry stores, 376 supermarket fuel centers and 41 food processing plants. For more information about Kroger, please visit our web site at

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