Meijer to host its first ever summit for sustainable suppliers

Discussion
Photo: Meijer
Apr 05, 2022

Regional grocer Meijer wants more sustainable products on its shelves and the grocer is offering vendors of such products a chance to show the grocer what they’ve got.

Meijer is holding its first ever Sustainable Supplier Summit, a virtual meeting that will give select attendees an opportunity to meet remotely with buyers in the appropriate department to discuss their products, according to a press release.

Buyers in each department will be looking for vendors whose products adhere to particular sustainability certifications. For example, seafood must be Best Aquaculture Practices certified, toys must be Ecologo certified and grocery and consumables must be Rainforest Alliance certified.

Vendors can apply online to be considered for participation in the summit, which will take place June 20 through June 23. Even if a vendor is not chosen, it may still be tapped by Meijer in the future through the tool as buyers’ needs change.

While this is Meijer’s first such effort to cast a net for sustainability-focused CPG products, it is not unique to the industry.

Kroger launched a contest last year to search for local and regional suppliers, particularly in fresh categories. The grocer’s Go Fresh & Local Supplier Accelerator solicited applications from growers, offering 15 winners the opportunity to attend the event with the promise that five would have their products appear on Kroger’s shelves. Other grocers, including H-E-B, and retailers in other segments, such as Lowe’s, QVC and HSN, have launched similar competitions in recent years.

As grocers look to source more diverse consumer packaged goods offerings, one major chain has taken steps that appear to have taken it in the opposite direction.

Whole Foods in 2021 moved entirely to a centralized buying model, a transition that began after the chain’s 2017 acquisition by Amazon.com. The change has been criticized by some as Whole Foods’ local buying model had provided many independent niche vendors with exposure on the chain’s shelves.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think a virtual summit like this is a good move for grocers who want to find new, sustainable products? Do events such as this affect what products CPGs develop?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"this strategy will help sift through the vendors that truly align with sustainability — making it simpler to find the best products in this space."
"If Meijer and similar grocery stores want to be appealing to the next generation of consumers, they will need to adapt their business practices to fit with this mega-trend."
"Helping their category leaders broaden their sources of sustainable goods is a smart move for the company and a tremendous help for suppliers..."

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10 Comments on "Meijer to host its first ever summit for sustainable suppliers"


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Bob Amster
BrainTrust

Absolutely a good concept. As sustainability begins to gain popularity with consumers, retailers are beginning to listen (or lead) and join the trend. As such, getting the suppliers involved is the best way to address the situation as far upstream as possible.

Liza Amlani
BrainTrust

Meijer is giving sustainable vendors an opportunity to get in front of buyers. In a world where there are so many products to choose from and not all vendors have access to Meijer, this strategy will help sift through the vendors that truly align with sustainability —> making it simpler to find the best products in this space.

Meijer is also very community driven — this strategy would allow local vendors to compete with national brands.

DeAnn Campbell
BrainTrust

Helping their category leaders broaden their sources of sustainable goods is a smart move for the company and a tremendous help for suppliers who have traditionally had to struggle for attention from buyers and space on the shelf.

Jeff Weidauer
BrainTrust

This is a great move for every Meijer stakeholder. It shows both shoppers and suppliers that Meijer is serious about sustainability, garners the company some excellent press, and will help to prove to the market in general that sustainability is a viable direction.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

There are two big messages from the Sustainable Supplier Summit. The first is that sustainability is important. The second is to the larger CPG companies, that they should take this seriously or they will lose business.

David Spear
BrainTrust

Great move by Meijer on a variety of fronts. It will generate additional differentiation from other competitors. It will foster new marketing programs to be executed. It will enable collection of valuable data that can be analyzed for further insights. Vendors, get ready, set, go!

Brandon Rael
BrainTrust

Sustainability initiatives have gained momentum, however, it is not at the scale it needs to be in order for sustainable first vendors to get in front of the grocery merchandising teams. It’s very commendable for Meijer to hold a virtual summit for sustainable suppliers.

In order to truly realize the business, economic and environmental value of sustainability initiatives, it will take this sort of collaboration and partnerships to enable sustainable suppliers to compete with the more shelf-dominant brands.

Shikha Jain
BrainTrust

It’s also about relevancy. Sustainability is the leading concern on almost every consumer’s mind and especially with Gen Z and Millennials. If Meijer and similar grocery stores want to be appealing to the next generation of consumers, they will need to adapt their business practices to fit with this mega-trend. Consumers are also wary of greenwashing, so this is a great way to proactively show vs. tell that they are investing in and pivoting towards sustainability.

Andrew Blatherwick
BrainTrust

We will see more of the sustainability agenda from retailers and more products that are accredited as sustainable on the shelves. Do they need a summit to find these suppliers or is this a very good publicity stunt is another question? If Meijer just announced that they are looking for sustainable product suppliers, their buyers would be inundated with approaches and they could do their job of selecting the best that they want to work with. However, it is a great message and take nothing away from them for this move.

James Tenser
BrainTrust

Local sourcing and sustainable products have a natural affinity with grocery retailing today. Meijer and other big retailers mentioned here clearly grasp the significance of this.

Shoppers are increasingly conscious about their own well-being and the health of the planet, and they express their beliefs every day at the checkouts. When Meijer gathers suppliers in a “summit” format, it sends a message about its firm intent to align merchandising priorities with consumer values.

CPG brands whose business models were built upon principles of centralized production and mass marketing would do well to adopt a more thoughtful and responsive approach. Danone is one company of several that are taking admirable steps to evolve sourcing, product formulation, packaging, and social responsibility.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"this strategy will help sift through the vendors that truly align with sustainability — making it simpler to find the best products in this space."
"If Meijer and similar grocery stores want to be appealing to the next generation of consumers, they will need to adapt their business practices to fit with this mega-trend."
"Helping their category leaders broaden their sources of sustainable goods is a smart move for the company and a tremendous help for suppliers..."

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