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UNFI Shares New Products, Updates Show Formats for '24

Wholesaler expands events to both natural and conventional channels
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
UNFI show
In addition to unveiling new products, UNFI’s Winter Show shared its professional services offerings.

Grocery wholesaler United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) recently wrapped up its Natural Winter Show in Las Vegas, showcasing short-term trends and also shoring up a foundation for the longer-term future. More than 2,000 attendees and 580 suppliers took part in the show, the company reported.

From a product pipeline perspective, the Natural Winter Show that concluded Sept. 28 highlighted hundreds of new products, including 40 items chosen for UNFI’s New Product Showcase area and 35 selected as emerging brands from the company’s UpNext incubator. UNFI also named the winner of its latest pitch slam contest: Ruby Hibiscus Water.  “I’m so unbelievably grateful for such an exceptional group to acknowledge our up and coming brand, organic sparkling hibiscus line,” said founder Noah Wunsch. “We believe in clean and organic ingredients, with functional benefits, and it means the world to us to see that you all do as well.”

Steve Dietz, chief customer officer at UNFI underlined the point that the event connected customers and suppliers in a valuable way. “This natural show really showcased the innovation and passion from our natural and organic manufacturing partners and enabled retailers to discover new items that deliver the differentiated value proposition consumers expect from their local grocer, helping them remain competitive in their marketplace,” he said. 

Meanwhile, as UNFI continues on a business transformation journey of its own, the organization is building on its customer-supplier connections and revamping its shows. UNFI announced that all of its selling shows in 2024 will support both natural and conventional suppliers and customer channels.

The schedule for next year includes Spring and Summer Shows on Feb. 7-8 in San Diego, Calif., for the West region and Feb. 20-21 in Orlando, Fla., for the Central and East regions. The UNFI Holiday and Winter Shows will take place on June 4-5 in Uncasville, Conn., for the East region and Aug. 6-7 in Minneapolis for the Central and West regions.

This week, UNFI reported its latest financial results, showing a slight increase in net sales and a downturn in earnings. The company also announced the appointment of three new independent directors tapped to support its transformation plan.

Providence, R.I.-based UNFI delivers a wide variety of products to customer locations throughout North America, including natural product superstores, independent retailers, conventional supermarket chains, e-commerce retailers and foodservice customers. The largest publicly traded grocery distributor in America, the company is No. 20 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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