A program launched last year by research firm IRI to increase diversity among CPG brands has succeeded in its goals. IRI earlier this month announced growth and success updates on its inaugural 2021 Diversity Advantage Program (DAP) that provides opportunities for women- and minority-owned consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies.
One DAP participant—BLK and Bold Specialty Coffee, a specialty coffee manufacturer—has already experienced growth with their specialty K-cups in the single-cup coffee category at a leading retailer. Through the program, retailers with a higher interest in products such as this were identified, resulting in an increased potential distribution for BLK and Bold by 450 stores.
“DAP has unlocked incredible opportunities for our business that never would have been attainable without access to the valuable sales and consumer insights that IRI provides. As a result of the program, BLK and Bold has accelerated growth and is well-positioned for continued success. I am very grateful to IRI and the participating retailers for dedicating their time and resources to this effort,” said Pernell Cezar, co-founder and CEO for BLK and Bold in a statement.
Another DAP participant—Mented, a new women-founded cosmetics company—was able to utilize a detailed consumer survey for a better understanding of the cosmetic shopping preferences of a leading retailer’s customers. These insights helped guide the company’s strategy, resulting in a sales increase of more than 80% and an average weekly distribution at the retailer that doubled.
IRI's Diversity Advantage Program was developed by IRI employees “who wanted to create a fair and equitable consumer goods ecosystem,” said a release by the organization. It is supported by more than 200 IRI employee volunteers, and includes 11 retail partners across the United States and the United Kingdom, including Ahold Delhaize, Amazon, Kroger and Target. In order to qualify for participation in DAP, companies must have $1 million to $25 million in annual sales and be recommended by a participating retailer. Once a part of the program, minority- and women-owned consumer packaged goods companies are provided with the opportunities “to achieve positive organizational growth.”
“The inaugural program has achieved fantastic results for the many participating businesses owned by members of underrepresented groups,” said Boris Oglesby, executive vice president and practice leader, IRI in a statement.
For the past year, DAP has been offering “complimentary access to consumer and shopper insights data and applications, literacy training and consulting services to 27 participating companies, delivering material benefits for each business,” said IRI.
“We are grateful for the support of IRI's employee volunteers and our many retailer partners, who have dedicated significant time and resources to this initiative. We are also excited to welcome the 2022 cohort of businesses into the program and look forward to providing the data, insights literacy training and expertise needed to help them grow their sales and market share, and achieve ongoing success,” said Boris Oglesby, executive vice president and practice leader, IRI in a statement.
In April, IRI announced plans to merge with The NPD Group to create a leading global technology, analytics and data provider.