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Kroger's new holiday ad is an unexpected tearjerker

So much emotion packed into just a few seconds.

Kroger/Youtube

Kroger's new commercial has viewers in tears

Look, we know that commercials often take aim at our emotions. But certain commercials transcend clever marketing strategy and become something so much more human.

Apparently, a Kroger holiday ad, titled “Cuisine Exchange,” is one of those commercials.

“Cuisine Exchange” tells the story of a childless couple who choose to become hosts for foreign exchange students.

Ed Sheeran’s “Photograph” plays in the background as their first student arrives— a young girl from Mexico named Valentina. The couple cook Valentina pozole, a Mexican stew, which instantly makes her feel more at home.


During Valentina’s stay, the household enjoys hot cocoa with marshmallows, chili peppers (with plenty of milk nearby in case of emergency) and tamales before she returns to Mexico.

More visits follow, and with them more comfort meals: a Japanese student with soba noodles, another from Denmark with aebleskiver, a classic Christmas treat, and a kid from Italy making panettone, just to name a few.

Photographs pile onto the fridge as the years go by. And now we see the wife, with a few more wrinkles and gray hairs, yearning to see those students once again.

This prompts the husband to surprise her with truly the most thoughtful gift. As they sit by the fire, a Christmas tree twinkling beside them, suddenly there’s a knock at the door. When the wife goes to open it, she is greeted by all the exchange students they’ve ever hosted, and they all share a feast of all their favorite meals.

The ad ends with an undeniably fitting tagline: “Food connects us all.”

Reactions to the ad have been emotional to say the least, but positive nonetheless.

“Not a Kroger ad making me SOB??? I’m going to bed. 😭,” one viewer wrote on X.

“cried over a Kroger ad it’s time to pack it up everybody,” another added.

Meanwhile on Youtube, several folks who had been hosts to exchange students noted how spot on the commercial was.

“This hits home,” one person wrote. “We had seven exchange students between when I was 5 and 19. Two of them stayed for an extra year and one of them even went to a college two hours away. I learned so much about them and their cultures and we always tried to make food from their home.”

Of course, this isn’t the first time Korger unleashed a holiday ad tearjerker. Just last year, the grocery brand had viewers sobbing with its “Magical Cookbook” spot, which wove similar themes of food bringing us back to precious memories.

Sometimes, it doesn’t take much to get us into our feels. Even something as simple as a quick commercial can remind us of how beautiful life really is. And that’s fine—we could all use a good cry now and then.

Since plastic was first invented in 1907, over 8.3 billion tons has been produced, of which 79% has either wound up in a landfill or the natural environment.

About a third of this plastic are single-use products such as straws, cutlery, and shopping bags. Plastic bags now kill over 1000,000 marine animals a year and the Great Pacific garbage patch has grown past 1.6 million square kilometers.

Unfortunately, plastic production on Earth is showing no signs of slowing. According to The Guardian, plastic production is set to skyrocket over the next 10 to 15 years, with over 360 million tons produced in 2018 alone.

One way we can work to decrease the amount of plastic produced is to change how and where we shop. Greenpeace has taken the lead by ranking 20 of America's top supermarket chains in terms of how they're fighting the plastic crisis.


Unfortunately the news hasn't been positive. Across the board, "U.S. supermarkets are failing to adequately address the plastic pollution crisis they are contributing to," Greenpeace said in a statement.

"Grocery retailers across the country sell obscene amounts of products in throwaway plastics every single day, yet none of them are acting with the urgency needed to address the pollution crisis they're causing," Greenpeace Plastics Campaigner David Pinsky said in a statement.

"Not only do these companies have the resources to reimagine their stores with refill and reuse systems, they can use their buying power to pressure consumer goods companies like Nestlé, Coca-Cola, and Unilever to act as well," Pinsky continued. "The question is whether retailers will take responsibility for this mess, and act."

The supermarkets were ranked on a scale of 1 to 100, and the top performer, Aldi, received just a 34.6. Aldi achieved a top score by instituting several initiatives that most others do not: a specific plastic reduction target, a more comprehensive plastic reduction plan, greater transparency, and commitments to implement reuse and refill systems.

Here are the top and bottom 5 supermarkets according to Greenpeace.

Top 5:

1. Aldi

2. Kroger

3. Albertsons

4. Trader Joe's

5. Sprouts

Bottom 5:

16. Giant Eagle

17. WinCo Foods

18: Meijer

19. Wakefern

20. H.E.B.

Greenpeace doesn't just want to prompt supermarkets into taking action, it believes that's our job as well.

After learning about your local store's record, it asks you to take the scorecard to your supermarket to show the store's ranking to the store manager. Greenpeace also asks you tell the manager that "customers want to see less single-use plastics and more refill and reuse options."

Greenpeace also suggests you take photos of ridiculous single-use plastic packaging and post it on social media at #BreakFreeFromPlastic.


Even if our local supermarket isn't doing all it can to reduce its plastic footprint, we can all improve by shopping with reusable bags, purchasing loose fruit and vegetables, and shopping at farmers' markets when possible.

True
Kroger (Earth Day)

You know how hard it is to get things done when you're hungry? Your head feels foggy, it's impossible to retain anything, and you end up having to redo simple tasks.

Now imagine you're a growing kid who's trying to learn new things in school. Suddenly there's a lot more at stake than a few hours of extra work.

Sadly, that's the reality for a huge percentage of kids around the world. 66 million primary-school-aged children across the developing world go to school hungry every day. Not only does this undernutrition cause a whole host of health problems, it greatly affects their ability to keep up with their studies.


A child in school in the Philippines. All photos via Kroger.

And when kids start falling behind in school, it's a devastating spoke in the vicious wheel of poverty. Lower cognitive function usually leads to an incomplete education, which then makes it near impossible for them to get a higher paying job.

So even though skipping lunch may not sound like that big of a deal as an adult, to a kid, it could be the thing that keeps them from reaching a life-changing level of opportunity.  

That's why Fairtrade USA — a nonprofit that supports small farmers around the world — helped start a school feeding program in their farmers' communities.

While it's a newer program, it's already making a huge difference in one local school in the Philippines — a group of over 7,000 islands from which Fairtrade gets its certified organic coconuts.

Kids at a local school in the Philippines.

The school itself is quite remote — the kids have to walk down long, winding, muddy roads everyday just to get there. Couple that with regularly hungry bellies, and you can only imagine what a struggle it can be for them to remain focused in class.

But since the school feeding program was implemented, their outlook and energy seems significantly improved according to visiting Kroger team members, who stock Fairtrade USA products.

"We saw bright, smiling faces and healthy children thriving," says Karrie Pukstas, marketing manager for corporate affairs at Kroger. "We saw such potential."

The school feeding program is on track to feed approximately 1,750 kids in 60 schools in these Fairtrade farming communities. That's a sizable step forward in the fight to give these kids a chance at a better life.

But it's not just about the kids and their futures. This program is impacting their parents in a big way, too.  

The kids weren't the only ones feeling the effects of going about their day hungry. Imagine being unable to provide your child the nutrition they need to function properly due to circumstances beyond your control. It could feel devastating.

However, thanks to the feeding program, some of that burden has been lifted off their shoulders. And when they get to see their kids revitalized and happy, it's a real confidence boost.

A father of a child in the school feeding program expressing his joy.

This relief would not be possible without grocery stores like Kroger making it a priority to stock Fairtrade certified products. And when you make the choice to purchase those products, you're not just supporting an organization that empowers smaller farmers — you're giving their children a much clearer shot at a better future.  

It just takes a moment to check a label, but that moment could change the course of a child's life forever.

Learn more about Fairtrade's school feeding program here:

Full stomachs mean better education.

These kids want to grow up to become doctors and educators, but right now, they are struggling to find their next meal.

Posted by Upworthy on Wednesday, May 23, 2018
True
Kroger (Earth Day)

Did you ever stop and think about the awesome, transformative power of the coconut?

Not only does it have seemingly endless uses, but each one has the ability to make our day a little bit better.

The inside of a fresh coconut. All photos via Kroger.


Its juice revitalizes us when we're depleted, its oil is great for cooking and making our skin silky smooth, and its meat makes a delicious, healthy snack.

Those are just some of the ways coconuts do right by the people who buy its byproducts. But coconut consumers aren't the only ones singing praises to the coconut — to the people who harvest them in the far-reaching corners of the world, coconuts can truly be life-saving.

And we're not just talking about any old coconuts — we're talking about Fair Trade Certified™ Organic Coconuts.

In order to understand what that means, let's journey to the 7,100 fecund isles of the Philippines.  

Just a few of the thousands of islands that make up the Philippines.

Many of these islands are volcanic, which means they're home to a specific assortment of natural minerals. Couple that with abundant salt from the ocean and warm, moist air, and you have prime territory to grow the best coconuts.

It's no surprise the organic brand Simple Truth® has decided to source coconuts from The Philippines to make a variety of products; everything from lip balm to coconut oil and water.

But their reason for choosing this particular locale goes much deeper than ideal growing conditions. The Philippines is also home to one of the major hubs of Fair Trade USA, a nonprofit that has made it a mission to support and give back to the farming communities it works with.

These small-scale farmers can often get lost in the shuffle of the world trade market. Fairtrade works to empower them, their families and their communities all while promoting environmental sustainability.

Considering all that, it's fitting that the coconut tree symbolizes the Tree of Life in the Philippines — because that's exactly what it sustains.

A coconut tree farmer picking coconuts in the Philippines.

As such, Fairtrade is sort of like the fertilizer that keep those trees healthy and plentiful.

"The meaning of Fairtrade for us is equity in trade, rich and poor, because everybody benefits," says Sherley De Guzman, a local Fairtrade member in the Philippines.

Economically speaking, Fair Trade helps level the playing field for smaller farmers by giving them a boost in the trade markets, helping them negotiate better prices for their products, and advocating for better agricultural techniques.

Then, of course, there's the social impact — Fairtrade bolsters these farming communities by improving their housing, medical care, and educational resources.

The coconut's looking pretty mighty right now, huh?

It’s nice to know that when you buy Fair Trade Certified products, you're not only helping these farmers, you're helping to keep the planet healthy, too.

Remember how many uses the coconut fruit has? Well that's just the tip of the iceberg.

"Almost every single piece of the coconut tree and the coconut are used in different things. It's truly a zero-waste plant," explains Jessica Custer, Fair Trade USA senior supply chain manager.

And when distributors like Kroger stock their shelves with Fair Trade Certified products, like Simple Truth Coconut Water, they're supporting sustainability at its most impactful level.

So the next time you're eyeing a coconut water in the store, remember: The brand you buy really does matter to the land it came from and the people who made it.

Enjoying the coconut is good for you on so many levels — why not return the favor to the people who make that possible?

It's just one more thing we can add to the long list of super powers this fruit possesses. Since the coconut came from the Tree of Life, it's only fitting that we should return the favor.