Grocery stores with loyalty programs collect data on what and when you buy at their stores. Then they sell that data, because of course they do. For The Markup, Jon Keegan delves into why that matters when two big companies, Kroger and Albertsons, plan to get together:
In October 2022, Kroger and another top supermarket chain, Albertsons, announced plans for a $24.6 billion merger that would combine the top two supermarket chains in the U.S., creating stiff competition for Walmart, the overall top seller of groceries. U.S. regulators and members of Congress are scrutinizing the deal, including by examining its potential to erode privacy: Kroger has carefully grown two “alternative profit business” units that monetize customer information, expected by Kroger to yield more than $1 billion in “profits opportunity.” Folding Albertsons into Kroger will potentially add tens of millions of additional households to this data pool, netting half the households in America as customers.