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Albertsons & Kroger Merger Illustration. (Photo: New Africa/Shutterstock)

OPINION: Merger Between Krogers and Albertsons Is Needed For Competition And Philanthropy

Kroger is not the largest grocer, Walmart is, and this shifting control in the grocery story market has made it difficult to compete

By Bill Wong, June 13, 2024 11:37 am

As a retired businessman and former McDonald’s franchise owner, I have witnessed firsthand the profound impact that corporate philanthropy can have on our communities. Throughout my career, I have been deeply involved in charitable activities, notably as a board member of the Ronald McDonald House in Las Vegas, an organization that provides support to families with hospitalized children. My experiences have solidified my belief in the importance of businesses giving back. In this light, I would like to commend Smith’s Food and Drug (a subsidiary of Kroger) for their exceptional contributions to charitable causes.

Smith’s and Kroger have demonstrated a remarkable commitment to community service and philanthropy. Through initiatives like Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste plan, the company has committed to ending hunger in the communities it serves and eliminating waste across its company by 2025. In 2023 alone, Kroger donated over 1 billion meals to local food banks and hunger relief programs across the United States. Their innovative food rescue program, which redirects food that would otherwise go to waste, has been a game-changer for charities and food banks struggling to meet the increasing demand. 

In the fall of 2022, Kroger announced a merger with Albertsons, which is critical for supermarkets to compete against larger national discount stores such as Costco, Walmart, and Amazon. These conglomerates now make up 10 of the top 15 U.S. Grocers; a complete flip from 20 years ago when those numbers were reversed. 

Traditional supermarket grocers are being squeezed out of the market.   

Yet despite these numbers, many still erroneously believe that this merger is a merger between the largest and second largest grocers.

Kroger is not the largest grocer, Walmart is. 

In 2023, Walmart’s share of the U.S. grocery market was 29%, whereas Kroger controlled a 10% market share. Further, Costco’s U.S. grocery business is over 40% larger than Albertsons.

This shifting of control in the grocery store market has made it difficult for traditional grocers, such as Kroger and Albertson, to successfully compete. 

Without the merger, I am truly worried about the impact on Kroger’s charitable donations to nonprofits, including the Ronald McDonald House. In 2021, Kroger committed to a larger goal than previous charitable giving of delivering 10 billion meals over ten years, but this can only be achieved by combining the resources of Kroger and Albertson. 

Kroger is a prime example of how corporate philanthropy and community engagement can have a significant positive impact. The challenges faced by our communities—hunger, education, healthcare, and inclusion—require a concerted effort from all sectors of society, including our corporate partners. Our community will feel the negative impact of the failure of the merger on many levels.

The tangible benefits of merging Albertsons and Kroger reach far beyond the recipients of their aid; they foster a sense of community, improve company morale, and build a positive corporate image.

Together, we can create a brighter future for all.



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Bill Wong
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