Monday, March 14, 2016

March 2016 Supplier Community Update

Welcome to our latest round-up of UNFI news!  And don’t forget to bookmark and use another key resource, UNFI’s Supplier Support Site, for contact lists, program information, forms and more.

UNFI Organizational Changes

We are pleased to announce important organizational improvements that will enhance our ability to provide our brands and products to our retailers, and improve customer experience.

Effective August 2016, our outside sales associates from UNFI, Tony’s Fine Foods, Albert’s Organics, and Select Nutrition will collaborate as one team.

As part of this improvement, our outside sales teams will operate as three regions, Pacific, Central and Atlantic, under the leadership of three regional presidents.

  • Pacific: Paul Green, current SVP Operations, will assume the role of Pacific Region President. Steve Dietz, current Tony’s Fine Food VP of Marketing, will serve as the Pacific Region VP of Sales. 
  • Central: John Hummel, current VP of Operations Central Region, will assume the role of Central Region President. David Chavez, current Director of Foodservice, will serve as the Central Region VP of Sales.
  • Atlantic: Chris Testa, President of Blue Marble Brands, will assume the role of Atlantic Region President. JJ Cantrell, current VP of Natural Channel, will serve as the Atlantic Region VP of Sales.

Regional presidents and their team will manage all sales, across all channels, within their region. Members of sales will be aligned by Area and Territory within a region to enable more frequent interactions with our customers. The sales territories will be supported by a team comprised of Grocery, Fresh, and Wellness experts from UNFI, Tony’s Fine Foods, Albert’s Organics and Select Nutrition as Category Specialists.

What this announcement means for you:
  • No changes to the buying team or process.
  • Your current SRM will remain unchanged. 
  • Purchase order processes will not change. 
  • We can better leverage our category expertise to represent your brand in a more meaningful way. 

We will share more information in the coming months. In the meantime, you may contact with any questions.

Prepare Now for Vermont’s GMO Labeling Law

Vermont’s mandatory genetic engineering labeling law, Act 120, is scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2016. Pursuant to this law, “manufacturers,” as defined under this law, are required to label certain food sold by Vermont retailers if it is or may be produced with “genetic engineering.”  While it is possible that Act 120 may be prohibited or overruled, the compressed time period for compliance requires that we prepare now.  Please take action immediately:

Review these materials
Submit your sworn statement by March 31, 2016
Contact your Supplier Relationship Manager (SRM) with any questions.

We are here to help you navigate this new law, which is very important to many of our customers.

Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) News

Updated SRM Contacts List Available on UNFI’s Supplier Support Site
Click here for the current SRM contact list, with line and category assignments

Distribution Center Specific Circular Opportunity in Hudson Valley
In May, UNFI is launching the first DC Specific Circular with a customized version for customers served from our Hudson Valley location.  This is a great opportunity for suppliers wanting to penetrate the NY/NJ market, who have distribution in Hudson Valley but not throughout UNFI’s East Region.  Next opportunity for inclusion is July, deadline March 18, 2016.  Additional DC-Specific Circular opportunities will be announced soon.  For more information, contact your SRM and visit our Supplier Support Site.

Local & Emerging Supplier Development Update
Our Local Supplier Development Managers are actively sourcing and onboarding new Local & Regional brands.  This Program aids emerging suppliers to improve the distribution of their products and offers extended supplier training and marketing support.

Our Local Supplier Development Managers work with our sales team to identify key brand opportunities for UNFI. Suppliers currently in the marketplace and looking to take their brand to the next level are encouraged to reach out to our Local Supplier Development Managers.

For Brands in our Twin Cities market, please contact Tom Stadnik.
For Brands on the East Coast, please contact Wendy Savoie.
For Brands in other markets, please contact Kimberly Bentz.

Gourmet & Ethnic Channel Updates

UNFI’s Gourmet & Ethnic Channel hosted our 2nd annual shipper and case stack show at Citi Field in Flushing, NY on February 24th.  We want to thank all of those suppliers and brokers who braved the gale force winds and rain to exhibit, and those customers who came and booked orders!  We used iUNFI devices to capture the live orders at the show along with order guides, and just the bookings from the show alone nearly eclipsed the sales from the entire show last year!  A reminder that all orders are due in from customers on March 11th, so supplier recaps will soon follow.

The Monthly Saver program continues to bring in additional sales from G&E customers and Natural Independents alike.  The first 4 months of the programs showed increases on participating items of over 80,000 cases combined. Please contact Meredith Griffith for additional details.

In January, the Gourmet & Ethnic Channel teamed up with Tony’s Fine Foods to exhibit at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco.  It was great to see all of the customers who stopped by, and a special thanks to those suppliers who supported the metro racks in the booth as well as the fantastic demos!

UNFI Distribution Centers News

Greenwood Distribution Center Downtime March 18-19
We will not be accepting deliveries to our Greenwood Distribution Center (DC) on Friday, March 18 and Saturday, March 19, while we convert the DC to a new warehouse management system – WM2012 - the same best-in-class warehouse system that seven of our other DCs currently use. Greenwood operations leadership and associates are ready for the change, and training is on-going up until go-live.  Our schedule will return to normal for orders delivered on Sunday, March 20. We have contacted you if you are impacted by the downtime, however, if you have any questions please contact your SRM.

Gilroy Receiving in Full Swing! Shipping begins March 27 
UNFI’s new distribution center in Gilroy, CA received its first cases on February 15.  Shipping begins on Sunday March 27 with shipments to seven Whole Foods stores formerly serviced from our Rocklin DC.  Shipment to twelve more will begin in early May.  Purchase orders for the Gilroy start-up are nearly complete with perishables being ordered in the month of March.

Customers will transition from Rocklin to Gilroy in 3 phases.  Over time you will notice a decrease in your Rocklin volume.

Leicester DC Business Transition to Dayville DC
UNFI is completing the transition of the Leicester DC business into our Dayville facility, including service to Market Basket and King Kullen.  The last ship date from Leicester will be March 18.

Supplier Deductions Team Updates 

The Deductions team has been focused on closing our oldest disputes as quickly as possible and the queue is now averaging just under 30 days.  In order to assist us with improving turnaround times, please submit your dispute to the following email addresses with complete backup and deduction dispute form per the region and dispute type:

UNFI East – Any deduction disputes other than a payment term dispute should be emailed to  Payment terms disputes should be directed to your account representative in Accounts Payable East.

UNFI West – Any deduction dispute involving any invoice issue (including terms, shortages, chargebacks, OI discounts taken), RTVs, concealed damages, UNFI marketing billings, or third party billings originating with Accounts Payable should be emailed to  All other disputes should be emailed to

The deduction dispute form can be found on the UNFI Supplier Support Site at  Please direct any questions or feedback to your Supplier Relationship Manager or Joe Gordon.

Prevent Delays in New Item Set Up
To prevent delays in the set of your new items please make sure to submit all items/attachments on the checklist and complete the new item form completely prior to submission, including price list, specs and labels.   This applies to the Excel forms as well as new items submitted via the supplier portal.  You can find the checklist and new item forms on the UNFI Supplier Support Site.

Please direct any questions or feedback to your Supplier Relationship Manager or Joe Gordon.

Pack Changes – 90 Day Lead Time Required
We continue to see many pack changes coming to UNFI with less than the required 90 days lead time required for processing the change and notifying our customers.  Please review the UNFI Pack Change Policy.

Inventory Optimization System Implemented at Tony’s Fine Foods
We are pleased to announce that we have implemented our industry-leading purchasing system, Inventory Optimization (IO), for our buyers at Tony’s Fine Foods. Implementing IO brings enhanced capabilities to our buying team to help ensure inventory levels are better regulated, purchasing patterns are more efficient, and SKU performance is monitored. With Tony’s adoption of Inventory Optimization, they join UNFI East and West buying teams, along with Select Nutrition, on the IO buying platform, further driving consistent, national processes across UNFI.

Honest Green eCommerce Marketing Program Launched 
Starting in March, the Honest Green eCommerce site is featuring banner ads from supplier partners. Our eCommerce division has been identified as the fastest growing segment of the business – offering new and effective marketing opportunities for our suppliers. If you have products available in our Philadelphia or Hudson Valley warehouses, this is a great opportunity to reach eCommerce customers at a very affordable rate. For more information, contact Laurie Donohue at

Get it While It’s Hot … and it’s Hot Now
The Foodservice channel is on fire.  Focus attention on your single-serve items, back-of-the-house ingredients, snacks etc. in UNFI’s Foodservice vehicles:

Get It While It’s Hot – quarterly new items and top picks
Foodservice Sizzlers – quarterly electronic publication with hot deals
Foodservice Catalog -- a selection of product hand-picked for the Foodservice channel

To reserve space in these publications, or for questions, contact Joannie Berriman at