Which Food Retailers Are Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion?

Several companies earn perfect scores in criteria established by Disability:IN and AAPD
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
Down syndrome worker
The DEI is a comprehensive benchmarking tool that helps companies build a roadmap of measurable, tangible actions that they can take to achieve disability inclusion and equality.

The Disability Equality Index (DEI) has released its 2023 “Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion.” A joint initiative of Disability:IN and American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the DEI is a comprehensive benchmarking tool that helps companies build a roadmap of measurable, tangible actions that they can take to achieve disability inclusion and equality.

The DEI measures: Culture & Leadership; Enterprise-Wide Access; Employment Practices (Benefits, Recruitment, Employment, Education, Retention & Advancement, Accommodations); Community Engagement; Supplier Diversity; and non-U.S. operations. Each company receives a score, on a scale of zero (0) to 100, with those earning 80 and above recognized as “Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion.”

[Read more: “Grocer Sees the Light in Hiring Employees With Disabilities”]

Several food retailers scored 100% on this year’s DEI, including Giant Eagle, Inc.

“Our core values of ‘Respect All’ and ‘Think Team’ are important to all of us at Giant Eagle,” said Giant Eagle Interim CEO Bill Artman. “Being named as a best place to work for those who are differently abled validates our efforts and reflects a vision for inclusion we share with our team members, guests and neighbors.”

“Giant Eagle works to create a culture where people of all abilities can thrive,” added Kelly McCormick, VP of global talent curation and community engagement programs. “Our inclusion journey will never be done, but we continue to make progress because of the efforts of our team. Our team genuinely cares for each other and for our communities, and we firmly believe that everyone deserves respect and equitable employment opportunities.”

Giant Eagle’s commitment to disability inclusion extends throughout all facets of the company. Some of the company’s initiatives highlighted on the DEI benchmark include: dedicated recruiting efforts to attract people who are differently abled; a disability-focused, team member-led business resource group; an engagement survey in which we provide an opportunity to voluntarily self-identify as differently abled; a 20-plus member diversity council and multiple regional councils; and company-wide emergency preparedness plans that addresses people who are differently abled.

United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) also earned a perfect score. In partnership with its associate-led DREAM group (Disability Resources, Equity, Allyship and Mentoring), UNFI is working to advance inclusion in the workplace by fostering a culture of inclusion and empathy through open dialogue, effective associate training, and by honoring holidays and special events that speak to the identities of the company’s associates. This past year, UNFI implemented company-wide mental health awareness training and resources; organized multiple workshops on parenting a child with special needs; and conducted the Wounded Warrior Project Carry Forward 5K run and fundraiser. 

Other food retailers that scored 100% include Amazon, CVS Health, The Kroger Co., Target, Walgreens and Walmart.

“Businesses have the power to drive the global advancement of disability inclusion, and we’re thrilled to see more companies than ever leverage the Disability Equality Index to measure their progress,” said Jill Houghton, president and CEO of Disability:IN. “We recognize these top- scoring companies as a ‘Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion’ for their passion and efforts to lead the way in creating greater equity for people with disabilities in the workplace, marketplace, and supply chain.”

"These top-scoring companies understand deeply that people with disabilities represent a tremendous source of talent and innovation for their workforce and market share for their brands, and they are trailblazers in our journey towards full disability inclusion in business," said Maria Town, president and CEO of AAPD.

The complete 2023 “Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion” list is available online

Giant Eagle operates approximately 480 stores throughout western Pennsylvania, north central Ohio, northern West Virginia, Maryland and Indiana. The Pittsburgh, Pa.-based company is No. 40 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. PG also named the company as one of its Top 10 Most Sustainable Grocers.

Meanwhile, Seattle-based Amazon is No. 2 on The PG 100, Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS Health is No. 7, Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 4, Minneapolis-based Target Corp. is No. 6, Providence, R.I.-based UNFI is No. 20, Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens is No. 5 and Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on the list.

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