CHICAGO — Four large retailers will adopt IRI’s Diversity Advantage Program (DAP) to recognize and equip minority- and women-owned consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies with pro bono market research, data and insights, training and consulting services.

The DAP by IRI, a solutions provider and research firm serving consumer, retail and media companies, is a volunteer-led initiative aiming to support diversity in the industry.

"Far too often, minority- and women-owned businesses are not given the same opportunities to succeed," said Andrew Appel, president and chief executive officer 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."

Amazon, Kroger, Target and Ahold Delhaize USA Companies are among the first wave or retailer partners to support IRI’s DAP. IRI stated it will work to grow the program and expand its network of retailer partners and company participants.

“Conscious consumerism is at an all-time high, and trends are showing customers are actively seeking out diverse-owned brands," said Kate Weaver, manager of supplier diversity for Peapod Digital Labs, a digital, e-commerce and commercial subsidiary of Ahold Delhaize. "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, into the basket.”

The inaugural DAP cohort (referred to by IRI as “DAPers”) includes BLK & Bold, Countertop Productions, Homefree – treats you can trust, La Fete du Rose, Mented Costmetics, Peanut Butter & Co., Rosen Skincare, Scotch Porter and True Made Foods.

"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 The Kroger Co. "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,” Colon continued. “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."

Eligible companies must have between $1 million and $25 million in annual sales, must be minority- or women-owned, and must be recommended to the program by a participating retailer. Read more about IRI’s Diversity Advantage Program here.

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