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Why to Order from UNFI

Updated: Sep 4

Our top 6 reasons to order or distribute with UNFI


🚛 UNFI’s Background:

UNFI or United Natural Foods is known as one of the leading distributors of natural food


products. As its name implies UNFI is a conglomeration of many different distributors and retailers acquired throughout the years. The groundwork was laid in 1976 by Michael Funk (it was the 70s…), who opened Mountain People’s Warehouse in California, and which quickly became the largest distributor on the West Coast. Meanwhile in 1973, Norman Cloutier started Cornucopia, which quickly snapped up distributors including Rainbow Natural Foods. By 1996, Mountain People’s Warehouse and Cornucopia were two of the leading distributors on their respective coasts, and at that point merged together to become UNFI.

UNFI Truck
Credit: https://siempreauto.com/

Today, publicly owned UNFI is based out of Providence, Rhode Island and is tied to the hip with retail giant Whole Foods, who makes up a third of their revenue. UNFI also serves about 30,000 independent retailers.

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Below are 6 reasons to order from UNFI or distribute your product through them. 1. UNFI Logistics

UNFI has a whopping 58 distribution centers all across North America. The distribution behemoth also offers advanced refrigeration transportation and advanced logistics technology, which helps UNFI ship products as fast as possible and with as little wear and spoilage possible. As a retailer this means you can expect your product on time and in one piece. As a manufacturer it means more closed sales.


2. UNFI Selection

UNFI’s catalog boasts 250,000 different products. As an independent retailer or otherwise this means that unparalleled selection. As a manufacturer this means that UNFI knows the drill and will get you delivered.


3. UNFI Access

UNFI is a gatekeeper that can help brands meet their maximum. As Bryan Gildenberg, senior VP of commerce at Omnicom Commerce Group, said “UNFI has been the main gateway for brands to distribute through Whole Foods.” It’s not just Whole Foods, UNFI can push your product to many independent retailers. For retailers the benefit is that UNFI can help filter and find you good brands.


4. UNFI Pricing

UNFI offers flexible pricing plans to make it affordable for independent retailers and their end customers to buy what they need. For brand manufacturers this means more store exposure and sales.


5. UNFI Analytics

Running analytics and seeing what sells the best is hard for any independent retailer. With UNFI Category Management, UNFI will help guide you and your store to only stock the best selling products. For vendors this means better matches in terms of retail customers and more sales.


6. UNFI Ordering Tech

UNFI offers an easy automated way to order from their catalog called IUNFI. To utilize IUNFI retailers can either download an app or buy a barcode scanning device. With IUNFI, retailers can sort through their catalog to make ordering significantly faster and can discover new products in other stores. For a brand manufacturer this means more opportunities to get your product purchased and noticed.

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UNFI is a distribution powerhouse and now you know why to order from UNFI or distribute through them! If you are interested in other distributors, check out our article on Why to Order from KeHE or our top 7 best distributors

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