WASHINGTON, DC — January 24, 2003 — With shoppers continuing to diversify in tastes, preferences and demographics, the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) presents the Sixth Annual Supplier Diversity Program at the 2003 FMI Show, May 4-6 at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago.

“With demographics and consumer preferences changing so rapidly, supermarket retailers are continually seeking a broader range of suppliers to satisfy new product and service demands,” said FMI Senior Vice President Brian Tully. “FMI’s Supplier Diversity Program provides an outstanding, cost-effective opportunity for minority- and women-owned businesses to gain exposure for their goods and services, and it is a great forum for retailers to learn more about 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.   Supplier participants have access to an exhibit package of services for a fixed fee for the convention, which is 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.
  • Package pricing for total presentation.
  • 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 Lorena Jordan (202-220-0838 or ljordan@fmi.org).   
For additional information about the convention, please contact the automated show hotline at 1-800-890-SHOW (7469), or visit FMI’s Web site at www.fmi.org.