By Leslie G. Sarasin, President and CEO, FMI

Supplier Diversity Best Practice Guide

Whether talking about the manufacturers who produce it, the store associates who market it, or the shoppers who purchase food for their families, the food marketplace reflects a wide cultural perspective. It is critical that the food industry address our shoppers’ values and preferences by intentionally procuring from a diverse array of suppliers. I am proud of the work of FMI’s Supplier Diversity Committee and its commitment to enhance, develop and promote the growth of diverse-owned business enterprises that supply the food industry. This committee of practitioners helps the food industry lead the way with a focus on building a diverse pool of suppliers. In so doing, the food industry is better able to meet customer needs and demands.

In the new FMI Supplier Diversity Next/Best Practices Guide, industry leaders candidly share the ways they use supplier diversity to drive sustainable and meaningful impact in their supply chain while building a customer base and brand loyalty. This new FMI member resource, developed by FMI’s Supplier Diversity Committee, dives into the parameters of identifying and vetting diverse suppliers as well as confirming the business imperative.

With the contributions of 12 FMI member companies, including Meijer, Unilever, UNFI, Kellogg Company, Schnuck Markets, H-E-B, National Co-Op Grocers, Giant Eagle, KeHE Distributors, The Kroger Co., Peapod Digital Labs (Ahold Delhaize USA) and Walmart Inc., the guide highlights their best and next program practices in supplier diversity.

This guide can be used to connect the dots between leveraging technology, strategic, and intentional programs, measuring impacts, and highlighting how it could tie into a company's culture and commitments such as Consumer Social Responsibility (CSR) and Environmental Social Governance (ESG) efforts.

Supplier diversity goes beyond a standalone initiative; it should be integral to supply chain and sourcing strategies. By incorporating diverse suppliers into the supply chain, businesses can tap into innovative solutions, expand their supplier base, and foster economic growth in underserved communities.

For food retailers, wholesalers, or consumer packaged goods companies, this new guide offers best practices and tips to help advance supplier diversity programs. We hope you find this a helpful tool, allowing you to evaluate the practices that will keep your business pliable while navigating this ever-evolving food industry landscape.

Find the FMI Supplier Diversity Next/Best Practices Guide and case studies on FMI’s Supplier Diversity webpage.

Supplier Diversity Resources