Signaling the growing importance of its private label and owned brands business, United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) has named Angie Balian as its chief brands officer. In this role, she will oversee the private label division that provides independent grocers with unique products.
Balian moved up quickly to this position after joining the company in July 2022 as chief of staff to President Chris Testa.
“There is a tremendous opportunity with our private and owned brand offerings as grocery retailers are specifically looking to us to help them source the unique products, value and price points they need to support their communities,” explained Testa. “Angie’s experience with sales and marketing of national consumer-packaged brands along with her track record for building high-performing teams will help us grow and improve on what is already a very strong portfolio of UNFI products.”
Prior to UNFI, she was VP and general manager of Weston Foods in Toronto. She also served in several roles at Coca-Cola Canada, including stints as an executive on the Canadian leadership team, VP of commercial and franchise leadership and VP of marketing for the stills beverage category. Belian began her career at Kraft Foods in brand management and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management from the Schulich School of Business at York University.
“I’ve had a chance to work alongside UNFI’s private label and owned brands teams over the last several months and I’m very impressed with the core brands, products and people we have in place,” remarked Balian. “The opportunity now is to build on this foundation, using consumer and customer feedback, data, and insights, to inform how and where we invest in our portfolio to best support the ever-changing food landscape. We know value is critically important to consumers and our offerings in private label and owned brand products must continue evolving in meet those demands today and for the future.”
Earlier this summer, UNFI announced that Testa will focus on leading the services platform that includes private and owned brands as well as supplier services, professional services, e-commerce. He has been president since 2018
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. 49 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.