Kroger Revamps Ready-Made Supermarket Staple

Home Chef Fried Chicken reinvented to be crispier, more flavorful
Marian Zboraj
Digital Editor
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Home Chef Fried Chicken
Kroger's culinary team engaged in a months-long redevelopment journey in partnership with industry innovators to improve the recipe and packaging for its Fried Chicken and Tenders.

A ready-made supermarket staple is getting a revamp at The Kroger Co. The national grocer and its Home Chef meal solutions brand have completely reinvented their fried chicken, as the food retailer noted, to be crispier, crunchier and tastier than ever. 

After surveying and testing revealed that Home Chef's Fried Chicken and Tenders sold in Kroger-owned stores nationwide wasn't the crispiest or most flavorful (compared with top-rated retail/QSR chickens), Kroger and Home Chef set out to provide customers with the crunchiest, most flavor-packed fried chicken on market. Kroger's culinary team engaged in a months-long redevelopment journey in partnership with leading innovators in the industry to improve the recipe and packaging of its Fried Chicken and Tenders.

[Read more: "Home Chef Adds Another Meal Service"]

The improved fried chicken recipe underwent multiple consumer panels. Ultimately, Home Chef and Kroger's team of culinary innovators made the following changes:

  • Double-breading every piece by hand, using innovative ingredients such as tapioca starch and potato starch to maximize breading hold and crunch.
  • Incorporating 10 spices in the breading (garlic, paprika, thyme, etc.) to season each bite.
  • Developing new paper-based packaging for Kroger’s signature Home Chef 8-Piece Fried Chicken with additional venting to maintain a crispy texture. 

Once completed, the new fried chicken was served in Kroger’s Kitchen 1883 restaurants in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, where the company said that it was the No. 1 seller each day it was on the menu. 

The prepared fried chicken options, including eight-piece meals, a la carte pieces and tenders, are now available at stores owned by Kroger.

The popularity of prepared chicken can be seen throughout food retail. For instance, in a nod to the popularity of its signature rotisserie chicken, Walmart made the dinnertime staple available via delivery for the first time over the summer. The fan favorite, available in both lemon pepper and original flavors, can now be ordered by customers nationwide through the retailer’s online delivery service.

Serving more than 11 million customers daily through a digital shopping experience and 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names, Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 4 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart is No. 1 on The PG 100. PG also named both companies to its Retailers of the Century list. 

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