WASHINGTON, DC — December 10, 2001 — With American shoppers continuing to diversify in tastes, preferences and demographics, the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) will present the fifth annual Supplier Diversity Program at the 2002 FMI Show, to be held May 5-7 at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago. The program has continued to gain popularity each year since its initiation, bringing additional minority- and women-owned suppliers to the exhibit floor, many for the first time.

“As their customer bases grow increasingly diverse, food retailers are seeking a broader range of suppliers to accommodate the demand for new products and services,” said Mike Smoyer, FMI vice president of convention services. “FMI’s Supplier Diversity Program provides an outstanding, unique and affordable opportunity for minority- and women-owned businesses to gain exposure for their goods and services. And it is an ideal forum for retailers to become more aware of market-specific product lines.”

FMI introduced the Supplier Diversity Program in 1998 to expand opportunities for minority business enterprises (MBEs) and women-owned business enterprises (WBEs) throughout the food distribution industry.   Participants receive a substantial discount on the exhibitor fee for the convention, recognized as one of the largest food trade events in the world. By displaying their products and services at the FMI Show, exhibitors receive numerous benefits:

  • Introduction of their products and services to thousands of retailers, with buyers coming from more than 100 countries.
  • Savings 42% off the overall exhibit cost ($3,250 compared with $5,613).
  • Four complimentary registrations for their team.
  • On-site educational seminars.
  • Personal consultation for pre- and post-show marketing.

“The FMI Show is a very effective venue for minority and women suppliers, especially for new vendors interested in showcasing their products to the supermarket industry’s leading decision-makers,” said Joan Friedman of Sylvia Woods Enterprises, makers of Southern-style foods. “This program offers an unmatched opportunity to partner with some of the country’s leading supermarket retailers.”

Since its introduction, the Supplier Diversity Program has produced numerous successful retailer-supplier partnerships. Supermarket chains such as Ahold USA, Inc.; The Kroger Co.; Publix Super Markets, Inc.; Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.; Ukrop’s Super Markets, Inc.; and Bi-Lo, Inc. have all established working agreements with program participants, including fast-growing brands like Glory Foods, Michele Foods, La Milagro, Uncle Wiley’s and Magnolia Spice Teas.

“We are excited to be part of the program this year, and we believe that retailer and wholesaler attendees will be very interested in our product line,” said Robert Ramsay of Romance Foods Corporation, a company specializing in fresh pastas. “We look forward to meeting with supermarket representatives and sharing strategies with other participants in the program.”

For more information about the Supplier Diversity Program, contact Melanie Hutt (202-220-0833 or mhutt@fmi.org).   For additional information about the convention, please contact FMI’s automated show Infoline at 1-800-890-SHOW (7469), or visit FMI’s website at (www.fmi.org).