Last Refreshed: 7/15/2024 6:41:31 PM
Brand Story

How Giant Food is prioritizing supplier diversity & was the first traditional grocer to introduce shelf label tags

March 5, 2024 – Behind every product in a grocery store, lies a story of aspiration and a community of people seeking to use those products. At Giant Food, one of our local brands in the U.S., the team goes beyond just selling products – they aim to reach into the very fabric of diversity, equity and inclusion by encouraging and prioritizing supplier diversity. As part of that program, Giant Food introduced shelf label tags in December 2020 in all 164 of their Giant Food stores. They were the first traditional grocer to do so. By 2023, the brand already offered their customers a selection of 1,665 products from 194 certified suppliers. To learn more, we spoke with Jamie Joshua, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager at Giant Food. 

Last Refreshed: 7/15/2024 6:41:31 PM
Jamie Joshua, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager at Giant Food

Jamie’s role is multifaceted and involves close collaboration with Giant Food’s affinity groups and Business Resource Groups (BRGs) to steer programming and initiatives. Jamie works with all functional leads and their teams on how they can integrate diversity, equity and inclusion into the Giant Food business to foster a culture where these values are seen as guiding principles.  

How does Giant Food prioritize sourcing products from diverse-owned suppliers?

“At Giant Food, we work with our vendor partners and our Supplier Diversity team at Peapod Digital Labs, our support business for Ahold Delhaize USA brands, to connect to diverse suppliers with our category team to see where there may be opportunities to bring them into the store. Some examples of certified diverse suppliers that we have on Giant Food shelves include Tea Drops, Mocktail Club, Michele’s Granola, who are all certified women-owned businesses. 

Products from Tea Drops, one of Giant Food’s diverse-owned suppliers

However, our focus on supporting diverse-owned businesses isn’t just supporting businesses with products. We also support diverse-owned businesses that provide services for our business functions, such as Brand Pride, a women-owned certified business (previously certified LGBT-owned business) that provided t-shirts for Giant Food’s Pride Parade last year and Emtrain, a certified woman-owned business that has provided online learning content for Giant Food associates.”  

How does Giant Food foster meaningful, long-term relationships with diverse suppliers? 

“We introduced shelf label tags in December 2020 in all 164 of our Giant Food stores. In 2024, we are still going strong with providing shelf tags all year round. These shelf tags help customers identify the creators of certain products, and we are committed to building trust with our vendors and supporting minority-owned businesses that align with our brand values.  

We want to make sure that we are guiding our diverse supplier partners towards programs within store for more visibility of their business and products. During cultural heritage months we take this as an opportunity to highlight our diverse supplies. For example, our THRIVE People of Color BRG worked with our merchandising team to create an endcap with Black-owned businesses for Black History Month which just took place in February. For Women’s History Month (taking place now) we have a “certified women-owned” tab on the Giant Food website.”    
Can you share success stories or examples of how partnering with diverse suppliers has enhanced Giant Food’s product offerings, customer engagement, and overall competitiveness?  

“Today’s customers are more conscious than ever before when it comes to shopping. They prefer products that promote healthy habits, support certified diverse brands, and contribute to sustainability efforts. In 2023, we offered our customers a selection of 1,665 products from 194 certified suppliers, and we are proud to have been the first traditional grocery store to roll out shelf label tags in the U.S. Having supplier diversity in our stores has also helped customers discover new brands that they may not have previously been aware of.”   

Examples of Giant Food’s shelf label tags and products from diverse suppliers

How does supplier diversity contribute to economic opportunity for underrepresented groups within the food retail industry?    

“Certified minority-owned diverse suppliers are businesses with at least 51% minority ownership, certified by one of our certifying bodies. Having supplier diversity helps in multiple ways – it brings more offerings to our customers, supports small businesses, and reaches new customers who support these businesses. By supporting these businesses, we help them grow and create new jobs and opportunities. 

As we continue to see success with diverse suppliers through our supplier diversity program, we are able to invest more into supporting and growing our program.”

What role do we as associates/customers play in contributing to supplier diversity?  

“It is important for us to understand what supplier diversity is and what it isn’t. Through our shelf tag program, we spotlight minority-owned businesses, giving them a platform to thrive. Many customers actively seek to support these businesses, much like they do with local farmers or retailers. As ambassadors of our supplier diversity program, it's our role to guide customers and showcase the program's benefits. The more we talk about it, the more support we provide to certified minority-owned businesses.”