Diversity plays an important role in our communities. Shoppers want to see brands that represent themselves in the marketplace. Evaluating diversity within the supply chain is an important concept that allows retailers to provide the goods that shoppers seek.

Working with diverse suppliers allows for brand growth, which also encourages the growth of diverse businesses and the opportunity for shoppers to discover new products, learn more about the brand, and the story.

There are several ways to support diversity as a shopper, retailer, and even as a brand! Here are some ways that KeHE works with all three, both directly and indirectly, to promote diversity:

Discovering Diversity

Partnering with RangeMe, KeHE sources and discovers emerging brands to join the marketplace. It can be challenging to breakthrough in a competitive space like the food and beverage industry. That is why we created Diversity TrendFinder Events, allowing brands to pitch their product to the KeHE® Category Management team for a chance to have their brand join KeHE’s portfolio. Plus, the virtual events also provided an opportunity for brands to gain insight on how to succeed in the food industry. After identifying our diverse suppliers, we worked with the brands to ensure that they were set up for retail store success.

Supportive Programs

KeHE had the vision to attract, retain, and grow diverse suppliers in retail stores, so in 2019, KeHE’s DIVERSEtrade® program was founded. Our DIVERSEtrade® program identifies and helps brands owned by women, minorities, the disabled, veterans, and LGBTQ+ certified suppliers better navigate distribution and remove barriers in a highly competitive marketplace.

As part of the program, and to ensure that diverse suppliers are successful, we act as mentors and advocates for their brands. To increase opportunities for growth and success, we create best practice guides, host webinars, and offer training material on how to work with distributors. By providing these resources, our goal is to support the suppliers’ sales growth as well as give the brand exposure to our retail partners.

Taking Action

Discounts can make an impact for both brands and consumers. A promotion or discount can encourage product trial for a shopper and a discount for a brand can mean doing more with their dollars. We work with our new suppliers by offering them discounts at our trade shows and advertisements to get them in front of our retail partners, where they can display their products.

Additionally, we know the importance of spotlighting and educating shoppers. To help drive shoppers’ attention and represent diverse suppliers, we provide self-service Point of Sale materials for retailers to display the diverse brands in their stores. Diverse brands are also featured in KeHE publications during national observances and commemorative months, a resource our retail partners and sales team rely on for promotions and new item discovery.

What You Can Do

Representing diverse brands is important for suppliers, retailers, and shoppers. It allows brands to bring a unique and innovative product to store shelves, which allows them to tell the story behind their product. We know shoppers are seeking brands that represent them and to connect with a brand on a deeper level.

Whether you are a shopper or retailer, you can support diversity by educating yourself and others on diverse products, referencing programs in place for diverse brands, sharing a new favorite diverse brand on social media, and continuing to explore the new brands on shelves.

For more information on KeHE’s DIVERSEtrade® program, visit https://www.kehe.com/diversetrade/