Kroger makes a game of finding new suppliers
Kroger has just joined a few other retailers in launching a contest in search of new suppliers.
The competition encourages local and regional growers across fresh categories to apply online for a chance to partake in the Go Fresh & Local Supplier Accelerator, which will be held in Cincinnati in August. Kroger’s category management and fresh director team will review applications in multiple rounds, selecting 15 finalists (one finalist per region per category) to attend the event.
The prize package for the five overall winners includes product placement on Kroger’s shelves, recommended partnerships with sponsor Gourmet Foods International and coaching from Kroger merchandising and sales leaders.
The program supports Kroger’s expansion of its fresh departments, as well as its commitment announced last October to triple spending with diverse suppliers by 2030.
Kroger is not the only retailer making a game of finding new suppliers.
Lowe’s invited diverse small business owners last September to apply for a chance to attend a one-day virtual pitch challenge hosted by Shark Tank’s Daymond John to become a “Making It… With Lowe’s” small business partner. Lowe’s wound up evaluating more than 400 new products for sale on Lowes.com or on Lowe’s store shelves.
QVC and HSN’s second-annual The Big Find contest, which launched last summer, drew more than 2,400 entries and saw 270 finalists share their brand stories and demonstrate their products virtually to the panel of judges. The contest will result in the introduction of more than 90 brands — including two-thirds women- or minority-owned — on the home shopping networks this year.
H-E-B, in February, launched its eighth annual H-E-B Quest for Texas Best that calls on local food and non-foods entrepreneurs to compete for a combined $70,000 in cash prizes and the opportunity to land on the grocer’s shelves. Since launching the contest in 2014, H-E-B has reviewed more than 4,500 samples, brought more than 750 products to its shelves and awarded nearly $1 million in prize money.
”Through Quest, we have the opportunity to connect with even more Texas-based innovators each year, which helps us further curate rich and robust offerings for customers,” said James Harris, director, Diversity & Inclusion and Supplier Diversity, H-E-B., in a statement.
- Kroger Announces Go Fresh & Local Supplier Accelerator – Kroger/PRNewswire
- Go Fresh & Local Supplier Accelerator – Kroger
- Meet The “Making It … With Lowe’s” Top Entrepreneurs – Lowe’s
- Lowe’s Offers Chance Of A Lifetime To Hundreds Of Diverse Small Businesses With Virtual Pitch Program, Hosted By Shark Tank’s Daymond John – Lowe’s
- QVC and HSN to Debut Over 60 New Women and Minority-Owned Brands Through the Big Find International Product Search – Qurate Retail Group/Yahoo Finance
- H-E-B Quest for Texas Best 2021 call for entries now open – H-E-B
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think of competitions and pitch programs as a path for retailers to discover new brands? Do you see such efforts as largely publicity-driven or will they become a key complement to traditional buying efforts?