Friday, April 3, 2015

UNFI Supplier Community Update

Welcome, Suppliers. Thank you for joining us this spring quarter to stay current on UNFI supplier news. I’d also like to remind you to visit our Supplier Support Site, another key resource for maximizing opportunities with us.


Here are the latest updates to our team:

Position Changes
  • Maureen Hines will take on management responsibilities of all Grocery Supplier Relationship Managers with the following direct reports:  Capri Miller, Wendy Savoie, Melissa Ricardy, Greg Esslinger, Jessica Clancy, Nancy Willard, Kelli Menard, David Lotti, and Lori Davis.
  • Meagan Kessel will manage all ClearVue Supplier Relationship Managers.  Direct reports include:  Lisa Jorgensen, Jessica Meyer, Amie Thayer, and Amy Rooney. 
  • Lisa Jorgensen will transition to the ClearVue team.  
  • Wendy Savoie will transition to the Snack category. She will be responsible for Grocery Salty Snacks and Packaged Salty Snacks.
  • Kelli Menard transitioned to the following Grocery categories: Cocktail/Drink Mixes & Additives, Waters, and Tea; Ready-to-Drink and Dry.  
  • Valarie Rozokat transitioned to the following Personal Care categories: Hand & Body Lotion, Oral Hygiene, Sun Care, and Feminine Hygiene.  She reports to Lisa Madsen.

New Additions
  • Darla Snyder joined UNFI’s SRM team managing Supplement categories including: Food Supplements, Multivitamins, and Sport Supplements: Ointments & Medical Creams. She has extensive retail background in the natural channel and has experience managing supplement brands. Darla will be located in our Providence office and report to Lisa Madsen.
  • Capri Miller joined the SRM team as Supplier Relationship Manager.  Since 2008, Capri held positions of increasing responsibility over the course of her tenure at UNFI.  She will manage the following Grocery categories:  Sweeteners: Dry & Liquid; Packaged Snacks: Nuts, Dried Fruits & Trail Mixes; Baking; and Jerky.  
  • Lori Davis will transition into a Supplier Relationship Manager role.  She joined UNFI in 2012, and held positions of increasing responsibility within the SRM team.  Lori will manage the following Grocery categories:  Pasta Sauces, Pastas, Tomato & Tomato Products, and Specialty Crackers & Cookies.  
  • Gail Moran joined the SRM team as Associate Supplier Relationship Manager.  Previously, she worked with new suppliers and products for the National Supplier Development team. Gail will be handling key projects for the SRM team, and will report to Nancy Semmelrock.  
  • Liliana Goncalves joined the SRM team as Supplier Relationship Support Coordinator.  Liliana joined UNFI in July 2013 working in the IPAR department as an Administrative Assistant.  She will support Lisa Jorgensen and Greg Esslinger, and will report to Nancy Semmelrock.
  • Christine Gauthier will transition to Supplier Relationship Support Coordinator.  Christine has been with UNFI since 1995, and will now support Robyn Romano and report directly to Nancy Semmelrock. 
  • Kimberly Bentz recently joined the UNFI and SRM team as Regional Supplier Development Group Manager.  Kimberly has significant supply chain experience and will be responsible for managing the new Regional Supplier Development team.  Kimberly will be based out of our Racine, WI location, and will report directly to Melissa Angle.  

SRM Contact List and Category Assignments

Click here for the latest SRM contact and category information.

Supplier Portal Testing to Begin

To increase communication with suppliers and brokers, UNFI is developing a Supplier Portal that will include new item setup, promotional information delivery, and other key processes. Beta testing is scheduled for this spring.


National Model for Inventory Planning & Replenishment (IPAR)

Last year, UNFI implemented a leading purchasing platform, Inventory Optimization (IO), which provides enhanced insight for smarter buying decisions. Today, the IPAR team is evolving to take full advantage of the IO platform.

We have begun piloting national buying desks, and a full-scale staggered implementation will take place throughout the summer of 2015. When fully implemented, suppliers will work with one buyer for both East and West distribution centers. As we finalize the anticipated buyer-supplier relationship changes, UNFI will maintain one of your current buyer contacts, where possible, in an effort to maximize expertise.

Your current buyer will be in touch with more information.  For additional questions, email

To facilitate the national procurement model, IPAR Director responsibilities have changed:
  • Jodi Booska, previously responsible for Grocery and Private Label categories, will now head Dairy/Chill. 
  • Nathan O’Rourke will retain Frozen in addition to Grocery and Private Label categories. 

Hudson Valley Customer Transition is Complete

Monday, March 30, 2015 marked the completion of Phase VI customer moves. All large-scale customer transitions are complete, and Hudson Valley is servicing all customers as originally planned.


Successful Shipper Show

With over 95 suppliers and orders placed for more than 85 customers, the first annual Gourmet & Ethnic Shipper Show in Woodcliff Lakes, NJ was a success! Thank you to all our supplier and broker partners who supported this event.

For information on upcoming Gourmet & Ethnic marketing opportunities, please contact your Gourmet & Ethnic SRM.

Gourmet & Ethnic Feature at Foxwoods Tabletop Show

UNFI’s  Gourmet & Ethnic Channel will host a new feature at this year’s Foxwoods Tabletop Show, May 13 – 14th, 2015 at Fox Tower, Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard, CT.  Located in the Celebrity Ballroom, Customer Experience will feature several Gourmet & Ethnic suppliers as well as celebrity appearances, cooking and mixology demonstrations, holiday displays, sampling, merchandising displays and more.


UNFI Customer Portal Banner Ads Show Significant ROI

We’ve analyzed response and sales activity from six supplier banner ad program participants. During the months ads ran, the average retailer traffic increase to that product listing page was 410%, and the average increase of sold units neared 34%. With a supplier running a two month ad on the New Products page, sales increased by 300%.

For more information on featuring your banner ad on the UNFI customer portal, click here, or contact Laurie Donohue for more details.

IX-ONE Product Information Exchange Platform 

Launched in collaboration with leading industry partners, IX-ONE is the industry-wide solution for product information exchange. Scanning 360° images, IX-ONE captures over 20 images and 500 data points per item, including label-based claims, third party certifications, and attributes. Supply chain and logistic information, such as weight and dimensions, are also captured, creating a centralized hub for manufacturers to access and share information.

UNFI supports the adoption of IX-ONE and encourages membership for all suppliers. For more information, visit

International Selling Opportunities

Not sure what to do with international tradeshow leads? Are potential international customers reaching out to you for purchases and you don’t know where to start? You have a partner in UNFI and since we are your customer, there is not a financial risk in this class of trade. Our experts can partner with you to assist in consolidation and international shipping and documentation. Click here for more information.


Twin Cities Distribution Center Opening

UNFI’s newest state-of-the-art, LEED-designed warehouse opens this month in Prescott, WI. This distribution center, referred to as our Twin Cities location, will help us better serve the needs of customers and suppliers in a growing market, as well as helping grow the local economy. It will provide an expanded product offering, with thousands of items from Trudeau Distributing and Albert’s Organics added to UNFI’s industry leading product assortment. Shipping is scheduled to being April 27th, 2015.

Transitions at Ridgefield Distribution Center

UNFI’s Ridgefield distribution center has been operating on the Warehouse Management (WM) 2009 system, and will convert to an updated WM 2012 system in July. This warehouse management platform transition includes voice selection, directed put-away and replenishment logic, and will positively impact our product selection accuracy.


UNFI has initiated a project to replace our East and West business with an integrated, enterprise-wide business system. We are calling this project CORE.

The primary objections are:
  • Build a platform for future growth
  • Enhance our ability to support our customers and suppliers
  • Create efficiencies through streamlined business processes
  • Enable One UNFI through standardized technology
  • Mitigate risk by replacing obsolete systems and technology

We will provide you with ongoing timely updates on our progress, and outline key improvements and benefits to our supplier community.

Thank you for your support of UNFI. Please feel free to reach out to me or your SRM with any questions and comments.

John Raiche
Vice President, Marketing