WASHINGTON, DC — March 8, 2005 — Seeking to expand opportunities for women- and minority-owned suppliers to the food retailer/wholesaler community, the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) presents the Eighth Annual Supplier Diversity Program. Participating companies will be featured at the 2005 FMI Show, May 1-3, 2005 at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago, IL.

“The FMI Supplier Diversity Program provides minority- and women-owned companies with unprecedented exposure to retail buyers worldwide, as well as unmatched opportunities to establish new business partnerships,” said Henry Hailstock, director of diversity and community relations, FMI. “The FMI Show is a highly effective venue for the program, allowing program participants to showcase their products and services to the industry’s top decision makers.”

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 annual food trade events in the world. Companies participating in the program receive numerous benefits:

  • Introduction of their products and services to thousands of global buyers

  • Discounted exhibit booth space

  • Four complimentary registrations for their team

  • On-site educational seminars

  • Personal consultation for pre- and post-show marketing

“The Supplier Diversity Program at the FMI Show offers unmatched opportunities for minority and women businesses to partner with some of the country's most innovative food retailers and wholesalers,” said Alejandro Silva, chairman, Evans Food Group, Ltd. “We are excited to be part of the program again this year, and we look forward to meeting new industry representatives and learning about the successes of the other SDP participants.”

Since its introduction, the Supplier Diversity Program has produced many notable retailer-supplier partnerships. Companies 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.      

FMI is a corporate member of the National Supplier Development Council and is committed to developing and strengthening WBEs/MBEs. The Supplier Diversity Program gives FMI member companies access to a larger pool of qualified suppliers while providing opportunities for MBEs/WBEs to gain exposure to a broader audience of potential retail/wholesale customers.

For more information about the Supplier Diversity Program, contact Lucie Crosby (202-220-0664 or lcrosby@fmi.org). For additional information about the convention, please visit the official 2005 FMI Show Web site at www.fmi.org.