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UNFI Teams With Crisp on CPG Insights

Suppliers can now better monitor sales and inventory levels across their retail channels
Gina Acosta, Progressive Grocer
a woman preparing food in a kitchen
The new offering provides real-time data integration, so managers always have access to the most relevant distribution data to keep shelves stocked and customers satisfied

United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) has partnered with Crisp, the first programmatic commerce platform for the food and beverage industries, to give brands the power to easily monitor sales and inventory levels across their retail sales channels.

The new offering from UNFI and Crisp eliminates the need for food and beverage companies to manually download and update their own Analytics and Business Intelligence (BI) platforms, saving significant amounts of time and reducing data errors. It also provides real-time data integration, so managers always have access to the most relevant distribution data to keep shelves stocked and customers satisfied. Additionally, customizable dashboards give managers the visual reports they need to quickly identify performance issues, voids, regional sales opportunities and other key business insights.

“Finding and delivering innovative solutions that help our suppliers respond quickly to new opportunities and insights is critical in this constantly evolving industry,” said Chris Testa, UNFI President. “This relationship with Crisp is a great example of how UNFI is helping food companies better leverage data to make smart decisions going forward and ultimately improve the service level to our retail customers. I encourage all our suppliers to explore this new offering.”

Analytics Platforms supported by Crisp include Tableau, Power BI, Snowflake, Microsoft Azure Blob Storage, Microsoft Excel and others.

“Through this relationship with UNFI, brands now have access to valuable supply chain data,” said Are Traasdahl, CEO, Crisp. “With this improved workflow, Crisp is delivering higher levels of supply chain visibility to leading food and beverage brands and is helping UNFI brands use data to improve performance.”

Katz Gluten Free has already signed on to use the Crisp Connector for UNFI. Roberto Cruz, Katz’s Marketing Director explains the value they’re receiving: “From reports, you can build insights, and then build a data-driven case for additional items, increased shelf space, or more merchandising. The key is to create value for our partners by leveraging the data to generate valuable consumer insights.”

Earlier this month the natural and organic wholesaler released its third quarter fiscal 2021 financial results, posting expected declines but reporting revenues 6.7% higher than pre-pandemic figures.

According to the Q3 report, UNFI had a net income of $48.6 million for the period ending May 1. That’s down from the $88.1 million net income in the same pandemic-defined period in 2020. Adjusted EBITDA was $179 million, a nearly 20% slide.

Net sales for the quarter came in at $6.62 billion, down 5.9% from the same time frame in 2020. Breaking it down, net sales in chains dipped 5.6% to nearly $3 billion for the 13-week period. At independent retailers, sales sagged 11.4% to just under $1.6 billion.

Operating expenses related to restructuring, acquisition and integration rose slightly in third quarter of this fiscal year, attributed in part to UNFI’s business positioning in the wake of the Supervalu acquisition.

Overall, in addition to improved revenue generation compared to 2019, there were other silver linings for the quarter, according to Steven L. Spinner, chairman and CEO. “Our results reflect our unrelenting focus on efficiency and the profitability of our business, as we cycled the highest spikes of sales revenue from pantry loading in the prior-year quarter,” he said. “As the industry and economic backdrop continue to evolve, UNFI remains well positioned for future growth. Fiscal 2020 was a record year for UNFI and fiscal 2021 is on-track to set another record. Looking ahead, we fully expect fiscal 2022 to be even better than this year.”

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. 47 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.  

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