United Natural Foods, Inc. Establishes Goal for Supplier Diversity; Guillaume Bagal and Lori Rodriques Discuss
PROVIDENCE, RI - Embracing diversity is a winning strategy. Take United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI), for example, which recently announced it doubled its year-over-year spend with diverse-owned suppliers during its 2022 fiscal year and has established a fiscal year 2023 goal for three percent of the distributor’s annual product spend to be with diverse-owned suppliers.
“UNFI account managers are constantly seeking to understand unique customer needs and proactively bringing strategic recommendations to the table,” said Guillaume Bagal, Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion. “Utilizing a vast network of diverse-owned suppliers not only advances our efforts to help create a more equitable food system, but by actively engaging and introducing diverse-owned suppliers to a broad range of UNFI customers, our retailers are able to unveil new sales opportunities and offer a wider selection of products to meet their consumer’s needs.”
UNFI’s supplier diversity team actively engages with diverse-owned suppliers to help them achieve equal access to purchasing and selling opportunities with corporate procurement, sales, merchandising, and retail teams, a press release explained.
In addition, the distributor has developed the ACT initiative, which focuses on several core areas:
- Applying supplier diversity into UNFI’s everyday business practice
- Committing to building connections with UNFI customers and simplifying navigation through the UNFI network
- Transforming the procurement process through greater transparency and accountability
In its early stages during the company’s fiscal 2022 year, the ACT initiative resulted in over $700 million of diverse supplier purchases by UNFI from more than 600 suppliers.
Another example of UNFI’s dedication to diversity is through its efforts in June 2022, when the company worked with 400 Stop & Shop stores to create Pride month endcaps showcasing products from eight LGBTQ+-owned suppliers.
“Our work to educate UNFI associates on diverse-owned suppliers combined with our efforts to consistently participate in matchmaking sessions between diverse-owned suppliers and retail customers has created wonderful success stories such as the one with Stop & Shop during Pride month,” said Lori Rodriques, UNFI Supplier Diversity Manager. “We’re getting stronger by continuously getting better and by purposely expanding our diverse supplier network, we’re creating more opportunities for diverse-owned suppliers to grow their businesses and retail success stories by working with UNFI.”
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