Cincinnati-based Kroger is touting its efforts to sign on more diverse suppliers and is debuting a guide that offers tips for small businesses on securing partnerships with retailers.
In 2020, Kroger's diverse supplier spend climbed 21% to $4.1 billion, according to a news release. The company has a goal of spending $10 billion with diverse suppliers—business owned and operated by people of color, women, veterans, LGBTQ+ individuals or individuals with disabilities—by 2030.
In support of its ambition to continue signing on new entrepreneurs and expand relationships with existing diverse suppliers, Kroger is introducing a Small Business Resource Guide. The 12-page guide features advice on pitching to retailers, managing supply chains effectively and planning for growth. It also highlights mini case studies from a handful of Kroger's diverse suppliers, including 4Sisters Rice (sustainably farmed organic and enriched rice) and True Shea (Ghana-sourced shea-butter products for skin and hair).
Among the suggestions offered: Establish relationships with a retailer's existing vendors and use them as mentors; study the target retailer's quarterly and annual reports; and maintain a digitally organized supply-chain tracking system to ensure transparency within all supply-chain activities.
Kroger noted that it had partnered with 107 new diverse suppliers in 2020, an increase of 91% from the previous year. The new resource guide is part of the company's Framework for Action: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion plan, which launched in October to accelerate change in five focus areas dealing with talent development, business partnerships and advancing equity within communities.
"Greater racial, gender, health and wealth equity will drive true and long-lasting change and better outcomes in our country," Kroger Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen said in the release. "And as America's grocer, we're honored to play a role in driving this change as an employer, grocery provider, and community partner."