News Column

Contacts for Contracts

November 2005, HISPANIC BUSINESS Magazine

Joel Russell


About one seventh of U.S. consumer spending goes for food. That translates to about $1.13 trillion each year, based on 2004 Census data. And agricultural products account for a substantial 6.9 percent of total U.S. exports, for a total of $56.7 billion in 2004.

This holds true despite the growing sophistication of other sectors of the economy, including information technology, entertainment, automotive products, and pharmaceuticals.

According to the Department of Agriculture, "the U.S. share of the global market for agricultural goods averages just under 20 percent."

Since ancient times, the food industry has been divided into two parts: production and distribution. The large corporations listed in Contacts for Contracts maintain that distinction. Large producers grow, process, and trade agricultural commodities, while supermarkets channel the goods to consumers.

Production-oriented conglomerates often view diversity from a global perspective. Cargill, for example, produces and transports food through its network of 124,000 employees in 59 countries. "The diversity of our supply chain is one of the many ways we offer distinctive value to our customers by fostering economic growth in the
communities they serve," according to the company. But diversity "first and foremost makes good business sense."

On the other hand, the supermarket chains that handle food distribution usually deal with diversity in the context of regional or local economies. National supermarket sales in 2004 totaled $457.4 billion, according to the Food Marketing Institute, and food accounted for more than 81 percent of those sales.

Minority vendors seeking contracts in food production and distribution should contact the offices and individuals below to learn about each corporation's supplier development program. Information also is available from the National Minority Supplier Development Council and the Small Business Administration.

Supplier Diversity Program
250 E. Parkcenter Blvd.
Boise, ID 83706

Supplier Diversity
Wilmington, DE 19898
(302) 774-7248

Archer Daniels Midland Co.
4666 Faries Parkway
Decatur, IL 62526
(800) 637-5843

Campbell Soup Co.
Supplier Diversity Program
One Campbell Place
MS 38
Camden, NJ 08103
(856) 342-8541

Attn: Supplier Diversity
P.O. Box 5623
Minneapolis, MN 55440-5623

Coca-Cola Co.
Johnnie B. Booker
Director, Supplier Diversity

ConAgra Foods
Supplier Diversity Program
Six Conagra Dr., PDL-483
Omaha, NE 68102

Manager, Supplier Diversity
7701 Legacy Dr.
Plano, TX 75024-4099
(972) 334-2570

General Mills
Diversity Department
P.O. Box 1113
Minneapolis, MN 55440

H.J. Heinz Co.
Supplier Diversity Program
P.O. Box 57
Pittsburgh, PA 15230

Kellogg Co.
Supplier Diversity
One Kellogg Square
Battle Creek, MI 49017

Kraft Foods
Chris Knox, Assoc. Director, Supplier Diversity
(847) 646-0146

The Kroger Co.
Denise Thomas
Director, Corporate Supplier Diversity
1014 Vine St.
Cincinnati, OH 45202-1100

Supplier Diversity Program Manager
800 N. Lindbergh Blvd. G5NA
St. Louis, MO 63167
(314) 694-5269

Supplier Diversity Team

Tim Williams
Supplier Diversity Department
(925) 467-2688

Sara Lee
Attn: Supplier Diversity Office
Three First National Plaza
Chicago, IL 60602-4260

Tyson Foods
Supplier Diversity Program
P.O. Box 2020
Springdale, AR 72765


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