National wholesale food distributor KeHE Distributors LLC is offering small brands a chance to be carried at the food retailers it services. As part of the company’s ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion, it recently hosted a virtual Diversity TrendFinder event, which gave more than 100 diverse suppliers a chance to pitch products directly to a category management team, which would then fast-track the chosen items into distribution. 

The October virtual event took place over two days, with the winning suppliers awarded “golden tickets” that enabled them to move on to the next phase. From there, brands were either selected for onboarding or given a chance to take part in the KeHE Summer Show Next Generation Innovation Showcase. The showcase, part of KeHE’s upcoming virtual trade show, slated for Jan. 28- Feb. 5, will allow the brands to pitch their products to KeHE retailers to earn the chance to join the company’s distribution.

The seven brands taking part in the showcase are jerky maker Wild Willett FoodTrident Coffee, immune-support syrup maker Elderberry QueenTempo Granola, cocktail mixer maker Red Shoots, sparkling fruit water maker Waju and sweet snack maker Fudge O’ Bits.

“As a woman and minority-owned business, Wild Willett is honored to be chosen as a participating brand in the Next Generation Innovation Showcase,” said Catherine Nguyen, founder of the Washington, D.C.-based company and a KeHE Diversity TrendFinder Golden Ticket recipient. “We cannot wait to share our story and products [as part of the KeHE Summer Show]. Wild WIllett is so grateful to the KeHE team for hosting such an amazing event and we are looking forward to a successful future partnership.”

Naperville, Illinois-based KeHE is the largest, pure-play distributor of natural and organic, specialty, and fresh products to more than 40,000 natural food stores, chain and independent grocery stores, e-commerce retailers, and other specialty product retailers throughout North America.

Picture Source: KeHE’s Diversity TrendFinder

SOURCE ( Bridget Goldschmidt /Progresive Grocer)