United Natural Foods: Largest Publicly-Traded Wholesale Distributor to The Natural, Organic & Specialty Industry

United Natural Foods, Inc. is the largest publicly traded wholesale distributor to the natural, organic and specialty industry in the U.S. and Canada. The Company operates via three divisions. These are Wholesale, Retail, and Manufacturing & Branded Products. The Company operates in the Food Wholesale industry. United Natural Foods has 33 distribution centers. In 2014, it received ranking by Forbes Magazine as one of “America’s Best Managed Companies. The Company is based in Providence, Rhode Island.

United Natural Foods has a first-rate distribution network and a 100,000 SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) collection. It provides a variety of products, from gourmet and ethnic, to fresh, prepared foods to specialty cheese. The Company serves independently owned natural products retailers, supernatural chains, conventional supermarkets, and mass market chains. It also serves foodservice, e-commerce, and global customers outside Canada.

United Natural Foods’ divisions include UNFI; Albert’s Organics; Select Nutrition; Tony’s Fine Foods; Honest Green – eSolutions by UNFI; Blue Marble Brands; Woodstock Farms Custom Snacks; Haddon House Specialty Foods; Gourmet Guru, and NorCal Produce, Inc.

United Natural Foods stocks and distributes over 90,000 products to greater than 45,000 customer locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. Regarding Bakery, the Company stocks more than 3,000 frozen, dry and chilled bakery items from premier local and regional suppliers. It also carries seafood; specialty cheese (through Tony’s Fine Foods); and protein with its specialty, organic and natural brands.

In addition, it carries deli meats, cheeses, salads, dips, sauces, condiments, spices, fresh fruits, vegetables and more via its Tony’s Fine Foods; organic produce and fresh products through Albert’s Organics; and prepared foods (including grab & go items, salads and side dishes).

Moreover, the Company carries personal care; health & beauty; cold pressed juices, yogurt drinks, kombucha teas, and more. Furthermore, it carries ready-to-heat-and-eat frozen food; specialty foods, including gourmet & ethnic; organic and natural milk, eggs, yogurt, cheese, butter and more; exclusive brands; and bulk/snack products.

United Natural Foods also provides various services to stores. These services include Category Management; Merchandising; Store Design; Marketing; eCommerce; Mobile Ordering; and Delivery Tracking. For example, pertaining to Store Design, the Company’s services focus on low-cost remodels, expansions, relocations, new store design, store equipment sourcing, and purchasing.

In May 2016, United Natural Foods announced that it completed its acquisition of all the outstanding equity interests of the above-mentioned Haddon House Food Products, Inc. and certain affiliated entities and certain real estate. Medford, New Jersey-based Haddon House has a varied, multi-channel customer base. This customer base includes conventional supermarkets, gourmet food stores, as well as independently owned product retailers.

This past August, United Natural Foods announced that it acquired all the outstanding stock of Gourmet Guru. Established in 1996, Gourmet Guru is a distributor and merchandiser of fresh and organic food centering on new and rising brands.

This acquisition further expands United Natural Foods’ presence in important urban markets. Gourmet Guru had $50 million in net sales for the twelve months ended June 30, 2016.

In Fiscal 2016, United Natural Foods generated $255.2 million in free cash flow. This was the most the Company ever produced in a fiscal year. It is more than $300 million better than fiscal 2015. Good free cash flow signifies that a business has the funds for expansion and debt reduction. It also has the funds to innovate and develop new products, buy back stock, and also pay dividends to its shareholders.