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Meijer broadens scope of diverse sourcing efforts

Dive Brief:

  • In its third event focused on supplier diversity, Meijer is expanding the types of businesses it’s seeking to partner with, according to a press release last week. 
  • The retailer is now inviting service providers, including inbound transportation carriers, real estate services and others, to join retail-ready brands to participate in a virtual event, which will run from March 29-31. Meijer is asking “certified minority-, LGBTQ-, woman-, veteran- and disability-owned businesses” with eligible products or services matching the retailer’s list of categories to apply by Feb. 7. 
  • Meijer’s expandedsupplier event comes at a time when grocers are reevaluating how they support and partner with businesses with owners from long-marginalized populations. 

Dive Insight:

Like its previous supplier diversity events, Meijer’s upcoming event summit gives diverse-owned businesses across the U.S. the chance to showcase their offerings to Meijer’s buyers and procurement teams. With more than 250 supercenters and grocery stores across six states, the retailer’s presence in the Midwest can provide a prominent platform to suppliers and brands. 

“We aim to support diverse-owned businesses throughout our stores, from the products we offer to the signage we hang and the services that keep the stores running. That’s why we’re excited to include a broad range of business categories in this event,” Peter Whitsett, executive vice president of merchandising and marketing at Meijer, said in the press release. 

Meijer held its first virtual event geared at finding diverse suppliers in November of 2020 and then hosted a second one — a multi-day summit — last spring. Like the previous two events, the upcoming one is being done in partnership with ECRM and its subsidiary RangeMe, an online platform.

Through the previous events, Meijer has sought out brands in four main categories: grocery; beauty and personal care; over-the-counter and wellness; and general merchandise. 

Now, Meijer is adding a list of service providers it’s seeking, including inbound transportation carriers; skilled trades for construction and facility maintenance; environmental, real estate and new site services; warehousing equipment; and others. Meijer is asking suppliers of non-retail goods and services to register through the STAR application hosted by another one of its third-party partners, Viva.

After Meijer receives the applications, the retailer will review and pick vendors to meet virtually during the summit. Suppliers who don’t get chosen can get reviewed in the future by Meijer’s buyers and business teams through RangeMe or STARS.

Meijer is among a number of major retailers seeking diverse suppliers. Kroger, for example, aims to invest up to $10 billion in diverse suppliers by 2030 as part of its plan to advance diversity, equity and inclusion. Walmart and Sam’s Club last spring announced it worked with technology platform C2FO to expand an early payment program to further help “diverse or minority-owned” suppliers.

Along with its supplier diversity efforts, Meijer has also worked to find local Midwestern suppliers through different events, which were also hosted in partnership with ECRM and RangeMe. There’s often a connection between small brands and diverse owners, whether minority-, women- or veteran-owned, Brandon Leong, senior vice president of marketing and growth at RangeMe, told Grocery Dive last fall. 

Article Courtesy of Grocery DIVE: