United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) said it has reached a new long-term agreement with National Co+Op Grocers, which will allow UNFI to serve as the primary supplier for 200 food co-ops nationwide.
The new deal extends and expands an agreement between the Providence, R.I.-based wholesaler and National Co+Op, which dates to the co-op’s inception in 1999, the companies said. Based in Iowa City, Iowa, National Co+Op (NCG) today is one of UNFI’s largest customers, with 147 member companies and annual retail sales of $2.1 billion.
“NCG is one of the most distinguished purchasing co-ops in the nation, and our team has taken great pride in helping optimize operational efficiencies and purchasing power for NCG member co-ops while providing top quality customer service,” Chris Testa, UNFI president and chief marketing officer, said in a release. “We have a strong history and relationship with NCG and are thrilled they are part of our UNFI customer family. We look forward to helping them be even better positioned for future growth.”
While UNFI has primarily supplied NCG member co-ops with a variety of natural products, the new agreement will focus on numerous business development initiatives resulting from UNFI’s expanded offering, the companies said. This will provide NCG’s 147 member co-ops access to more than 250,000 SKUs of natural, organic, conventional, specialty, bulk and wellness products as well as more than 5,000 private label items through UNFI’s Brands+ platform.
NCG said it was working closely with UNFI to find the best program offerings within the over 150 customizable solutions designed to provide operational flexibility and savings through UNFI’s Professional Services division.
“UNFI’s scale and ability to service our 147 member co-ops across 38 states with a tremendous portfolio of natural, conventional and private brand products helps ensure our members are successful and supports the continued growth of the cooperative grocery sector,” said C.E. Pugh, CEO of National Co+Op Grocers. “UNFI has always had a strong leadership position in the natural channel and is now able to help us better position our stores with an expanded offering, new product categories and more operational support. We’re looking forward to continuing our relationship with UNFI and leveraging their increased scale in the future.”