KeHE has unveiled the 20 Golden Ticket winners from its second Diversity TrendFinder event, in which the wholesaler selects diverse-owned vendors to onboard for distribution to its retail customers.
The 20 winning brands were selected from a field of nearly 200 based on ingredients, taste, packaging and purpose. Each supplier was given 20 minutes to pitch their brand directly to KeHE’s category management team.
The winners have the opportunity to be fast-tracked into KeHE’s DIVERSEtrade program, Rachelle Radcliffe, director of brand development at KeHE, told SFA News Daily. KeHE also offers a free New@KeHE launch, which is its new-item launch program to independent retailers.
The winning brands that are diverse-certified are automatically included in the company’s DIVERSEtrade program, which includes eligibility to participate in dedicated advertising space in KeHE catalogs; dedicated support through webinar trainings and guidance from DIVERSEtrade committee members; exclusive KeHE show perks and event support; features in KeHE’s digital communications, including social media and retailer newsletters, and financial support.
“As part of KeHE’s initiative to support diversity and inclusion within the company and throughout the industry, we have focused specific TrendFinder events on foraging for brands that are minority, women, LGBTQ+, and veteran owned,” said Radcliffe. “This was our second Diversity TrendFinder event, and we are thrilled with the exciting new brands we will be able to bring to our retail partners and the marketplace.”
Consumers today have greater expectations around inclusivity, and they are demanding products that reflect those values, she said.
“They are increasingly making their shopping choices based on a brand’s approach to diversity and inclusion,” said Radcliffe. “KeHE wants to be a supportive business partner through mentoring and advocating for these diverse suppliers to allow them to successfully navigate food distribution by removing barriers of entry and increasing opportunities for success.”
She said KeHE received more applications for this event than ever before, which she attributed to KeHE’s expanded partnerships with incubators and accelerators, the expanded reach of its social media and online presence, and its partnership with RangeMe.
“The joint TrendFinder campaign reached more people and encouraged more brands to sign up in that platform,” Radcliffe explained.
The company launched its TrendFinder series in 2018 as a live event, and has since held one other live version and five virtual events, which have proven to be just as successful, Radcliffe said.
The following chosen brands were selected from this year’s Diversity TrendFinder to be onboarded at KeHE:
• Got Paella
• Global Village Foods
• Sarah’s Homegrown
• Soldadera Coffee
• Well Told
• Mulan Dumpling
• Mabi Artisanal Tea
• Dolce Biscotti
• Linda’s Salsa LLC
• Lorenzo’s Frozen Pudding
• STL Pure Heat Gourmet
• Nomad Dumplings
• PureWild Co.
• Blind Tiger
• SIPPIN SNAX