KeHE Distributors LLC said Monday it has accepted 130 woman, minority-owned, LGBT-certified and veteran-owned suppliers into the inaugural class of its new DIVERSE trade diversity program.
Naperville, Ill.-based KeHE, an employee-owned B Corp. Certified company, said it maintains 15 North American distribution centers with more than 550 trucks driving 30,000 routes to deliver natural, organic and specialty food products to retailers in the natural, conventional, independent and specialty food channels.
The company said the new DIVERSE program will help woman, minority-owned, LGBT-certified and veteran-owned suppliers navigate distribution by removing barriers.
To participate in the program, a company must have a current Women’s Business Enterprise Natural Council (WBENC), National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NLCC), or U.S. Veteran Owned Business documentation on file with KeHE.
“As consumers demand transparency and become more aware of the origin stories of their products, the people behind the company are as important to them as the ingredients,” said Katie Paul, KeHE vice president. “We want to be a catalyst to help our retailers provide a strong mix of products with diverse backgrounds to their customers. In turn, the suppliers find success – more than 10 percent growth (SPINS Woman & Minority-Owned Certified Brand Sales, Total US- Food Channel for 52 weeks ending Sept. 8).”
KeHE said it will induct new KeHE suppliers to the program on an annual basis.