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KeHE Distributors-truck.jpg KeHE Distributors
KeHE said it envisions a network of no more than 200 brands under the KeHE elevate program.

KeHe looks to cultivate emerging brands

KeHE elevate program to help startups ‘reach more shelves’

Better-for-you and sustainable food wholesaler KeHE Distributors has launched KeHE elevate, a program to help grow promising, early-stage brands.

Announced on Friday, the KeHE elevate incubator program brings emerging brands a high-touch platform for building up their market presence and reaching more shelves nationwide. A distributor of fresh, natural, organic and specialty foods, KeHE said its category management team will act as trusted advisers and educate brands on the evolving landscape and drive sales and points of distribution via elevate.

“The struggles that emerging brands face within the retail landscape are tough. In fact, 95% of new products fail each year, according to the Harvard Business School,” Katie Paul, vice president of category management and growth solutions at KeHE, said in a statement. “KeHE is uniquely positioned to help suppliers via elevate, which is designed to alleviate those barriers by providing a broad range of growth and profitability support from our merchandising and sales teams." 

KeHE Category Management is now actively searching for program candidates. The Naperville, Ill.-based company said the elevate network of brands will be limited, not exceeding 200. To submit products, suppliers can go online to KeHE’s RangeMe website.

KeHE noted that KeHE elevate is designed to boost support for its retailer partners by identifying promising products and curating a robust brand portfolio to enhance their assortments, besides helping developing brands ramp up their marketplace potential.

“We look for brands that are purpose-driven, have high-quality ingredients, are innovative in their category, represent a future trend, have a unique taste profile, and will appeal to consumers at the shelf,” according to Rachelle Radcliffe, director of brand development at KeHE.

An employee-owned, B Corp-certified company, KeHE supplies natural food stores, supermarket chains, independent grocery stores and other specialty retailers across North America through its 15 distribution centers.

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