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05/13/2021

IRI’s Diversity Program to Empower Minority- and Women-Owned CPG Businesses

Partners include Ahold Delhaize, Kroger and Amazon
Marian Zboraj
Digital Editor
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IRI’s Diversity Program to Empower Minority- and Women-Owned CPG Businesses
The IRI employee volunteer-led program helps diverse-owned CPG companies succeed and reach their full potential in the market by providing free access to data, tools and expertise.

With more food retailers looking to diversify their pool of suppliers, IRI has launched IRI Diversity Advantage Program (DAP) to help rising minority- and women-owned consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies achieve positive organizational growth.

The IRI employee volunteer-led program provides pro bono services to micro, diverse-owned CPG brands and is supported by retailers like Ahold Delhaize USA Cos., The Kroger Co. and Amazon, which are partnering with IRI to provide each DAP participant with data and market research, consumer and shopper insights, training, and consulting services.

“Far too often, minority- and women-owned businesses are not given the same opportunities to succeed,” said Andrew Appel, president and CEO for IRI. “In our industry, insights and data are table stakes for our clients. A small team of us saw a unique way for IRI to give back and make a real difference by leveraging our resources and relationships to help companies created by diverse leaders succeed and reach their full potential in the market by providing free access to our data, tools and expertise. I am so proud of the 60-plus IRI employees who are volunteering to support the program and its participants and am thankful for the first set of retailers that are helping to bring this initiative to light by offering the program to their diverse CPG supplier partners.”

“Conscious consumerism is at an all-time high, and trends are showing customers are actively seeking out diverse-owned brands,” noted Kate Weaver, manager of supplier diversity for Peapod Digital Labs, the e-commerce and commercial company of Ahold Delhaize USA. “DAP will serve as a key tool to empower diverse-owned CPG companies to work more effectively with retailers to get on the shelf, stay on the shelf and, more importantly, [get] into the basket.”

Companies eligible to participate in DAP include minority- and women-owned consumer goods companies with $1 million-$25 million in annual sales that are recommended by a participating retailer.

Participants in the program, known as “DAPers,” will receive, pro bono:

  • Access to IRI market measurement services
  • IRI consultative services to accelerate growth
  • IRI solution training
  • Access to participating IRI Retailer Collaboration Gateways to enhance ongoing fact-based collaboration with leading retailers
  • Coaching to prepare for retailer meetings
  • Collaboration and shared best practices with other participants 

“Data and insights are key drivers for effective retailer/manufacturer collaboration; without data, manufacturers are at a disadvantage,” said Angel Colon, senior director of diversity and inclusion, multicultural development and supplier inclusion at Kroger. “The DAP program is an extension of the Kroger Supplier Inclusion Program, which fosters the growth and development of certified minority- and women-owned business enterprises. This program will empower manufacturers to gain an in-depth understanding of our retail performance and our customer engagement through the 84.51° Stratum analytic solution. It also provides them with an impactful view of the market performance via the IRI Kroger Collaborative Gateway. This is a powerful combination of data and insights that will set our manufacturers up for long-term growth and success.”  

“I’m excited to continue supporting minority- and women-owned companies through this initiative with IRI,” added Kristi Crump, director, Amazon Fresh. “We’re thrilled that these brands will get the resources needed to grow and be discovered by more customers.”

The initial cohort of DAPers include: BLK & BoldCountertop ProductionsHomefree – treats you can trustLa Fete du RoseMented CosmeticsPeanut Butter & Co.Rosen SkincareScotch Porter, and True Made Foods. IRI will be expanding its retailer and CPG manufacturer DAP partner network continuously, with the goal of serving an increasing number of DAP recipients over time.

“DAP is a distinctive use of our organization’s unique skills and resources, as it allows us to give back to the community and support diversity, equity and inclusion in our industry,” said Boris Oglesby, EVP and practice leader for IRI. “We have big aspirations to rapidly expand the dozens of companies we are supporting to hundreds in the near future.”

Chicago-based IRI is a leading provider of Big Data, predictive analytics and forward-looking insights that help CPG suppliers, over-the-counter health care organizations, retailers, and financial services and media companies grow their businesses. The company recently launched IRI OmniMarket and IRI OmniConsumer tools that feature more comprehensive and accurate measurement of in-store and online sales of consumer goods.  

Ahold Delhaize USA, a division of Zaandam, Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize, is the parent company for Ahold Delhaize’s U.S. companies, consisting of Food Lion, Giant Food, The Giant Co., Hannaford, and Stop & Shop, as well as e-grocer Peapod; Retail Business Services, a U.S. company providing support services to the brands; and Peapod Digital Labs. Operating more than 2,000 stores across 23 states, Ahold Delhaize USA is No. 11 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2020 list of the top food and consumables retailers in the United States. Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 3 and Seattle-based Amazon is No. 2 on the PG 100 list.