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Kroger hosts 1st natural foods innovation summit

Kroger Co. on Oct. 12 hosted its first natural foods innovation summit in Cincinnati, Ohio, in partnership with retail sector-focused research company 84.51°.

The event is an innovation platform that helps the company expand its natural foods product portfolio by working with emerging brands. Natural foods was a $16 billion business for the company in 2016, said Jill McIntosh, Kroger's vice president of natural foods.

Over 40 emerging brands in the natural foods segment attended the event, Kroger said. Joy Bauer, founder of Nourish Snacks and the nutrition and health expert of NBC's "Today" show, was the keynote speaker.

The grocery retailer said it will begin hosting the summit a few times a year.