It was Christmas in July for United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) and its customers.
Grocery distributor UNFI welcomed nearly 2,700 retail customers this week at its annual UNFI Conventional Expo in Minneapolis. The show, which connects independent grocers to UNFI’s vast network of suppliers, helps independents prepare and shop for the upcoming holiday and spring seasons.
“In line with our goal to help our customers drive profitable and sustainable growth, our in-person shows demonstrate the unique ability we have through our scale, insights and innovative offerings to help retailers of all sizes and all formats to be competitive in their market,” UNFI CEO Sandy Douglas said in a statement. “Working alongside our suppliers, we help customers plan their in-store offers, discover new and exclusive products, manage supply issues, and secure deals and promotions that drive sales and, by ultimately consumer loyalty.”
The conventional exhibition, one of five trade shows hosted by UNFI each year, ran from July 19-21 and attracted nearly 2,700 customers, including domestic and international retailers, and around 700 suppliers. covering over 200,000 square feet of exhibit space.
“In-person shows provide us with a great ability to connect with suppliers, see new products, develop merchandising strategies and make plans for our retail stores,” commented Matt Leiseth, President of Hornbacher’s Foods. , based in Moorhead, Minnesota, and part of Coborn’s Inc. “The UNFI Expo is one of the most important events we attend each year and this year’s show, [UNFI] Brands+ products at seasonal shopping will help us prepare our stores for what we expect to be a busy holiday season. »
Among the highlights of the event, UNFI said, were the following:
• 270 new products and 250 items for a sustainable/healthy planet introduced in the UNFI New Products Showcase.
• Over 300 “monster buys” (exclusive UNFI offers on popular consumer products) spanning nearly every store category.
• Introducing UNFI’s Independent Grocer’s Guide, featuring best-in-class strategy and case studies from some of UNFI’s customers. The guide was created in partnership with AlixPartners, a global business consultant specializing in grocery store growth and operational excellence.
• An alternative to the virtual trade show attended by hundreds of customers.
“UNFI is an incredible partner and customer participation at this show has been fantastic,” said Torrance Beard, Senior Sales Manager at Battle Creek, Michigan, Kellogg Co. “What makes this expo even more impactful is the return of the face – a face-to-face engagement with thousands of customers.
UNFI also named Boyers Food Markets as the recipient of its 2022 Grand Master Marketer Award, the highest honor given annually to a retailer that has demonstrated consistent performance and excellence in marketing. Founded in 1949 and based in Orwigsburg, Pennsylvania, Boyers operates 19 full-service supermarkets in northeast Pennsylvania. The Master Marketer Awards recognize independent retailers for their achievements in merchandising, marketing, media advertising and community relations programs.
UNFI, the largest publicly traded grocery distributor in North America, operates nearly 50 distribution centers and supplies more than 30,000 retailers in the United States and Canada, including health food supermarkets, independent retailers , conventional supermarket chains, e-commerce retailers and food service providers. .