United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) last week completed its 2023 schedule of shows and events, concluding it with a successful Natural Winter Show in Las Vegas, NV, which wrapped up on Thursday, Sept. 28.
Throughout the two-day event more than 2,000 attendees, representing hundreds of UNFI customers from across North America, connected with UNFI’s extensive community of suppliers offering a wide-ranging assortment across grocery, fresh, organic and specialty departments. The show also featured UNFI’s Professional Services offerings to retailers, which drive traffic, save time and money and enhance the shoppers’ experience.
“The UNFI shows physically connect our community of customers and suppliers in a way that creates real value for everyone,” said Steve Dietz, Chief Customer Officer at UNFI. “This natural show really showcased the innovation and passion from our natural and organic manufacturing partners and enabled retailers to discover new items that deliver the differentiated value proposition consumers expect from their local grocer, helping them remain competitive in their marketplace.”
This year’s UNFI Natural Winter Show included:
- More than 2,000 attendees, including domestic and international retailers and suppliers.
- Over 580 suppliers covering more than 75,000 square feet showcasing more than 800 brands.
- Hundreds of new products, with more than 40 selected and featured in UNFI’s New Product Showcase Area and more than 35 highlighted as UpNext emerging brands.
- The second appearance of the UNFI Food Safety and Quality Assurance team to help retailers navigate the new FDA rules on food traceability.
- UNFI Professional Services experts providing solutions in Retail Technology, Store Operations and Retail Marketing that help retailers reduce expenses, drive revenue and enhance their customer’s shopping experience.
“UNFI is just a terrific partner in so many aspects of our business,” said Saj Khan, VP of Grocery Operations and Purchasing at Nugget Markets. “Through events like this week’s Las Vegas show, they work alongside our team to help us identify new and trending products, source great deals and assist in supplier negotiations that are impactful to our merchandising plans. They are instrumental to our continued growth and success.”
One of the more unique aspects of UNFI shows is the Pitch Slam competition, presented by UNFI UpNext. The UNFI UpNext team discovers and mentors emerging brands, guiding their path to growth while helping deliver UNFI customers a regionally sourced, differentiated product mix. Pitch Slam pits UpNext suppliers alongside each other in a friendly and fun elevator pitch style competition. This year’s winner of the UNFI Natural Winter Show Pitch Slam was Ruby Hibiscus Water, a sparkling organic soda.
Noah Wunsch, founder of Ruby Hibiscus, said, “I’m so unbelievably grateful for such an exceptional group to acknowledge our up and coming brand, organic sparkling hibiscus line! We believe in clean and organic ingredients, with functional benefits, and it means the world to us to see that you all do as well.”
UNFI changing its show schedule for 2024.
Beginning in January 2024, to further reinforce UNFI’s customer and supplier-focused transformation, all UNFI selling shows will support both the natural and conventional supplier and customer channels, showcasing the company’s unique and differentiated supply chain. UNFI’s 2024 Spring and Summer shows will be held Feb. 7-8 in San Diego (West) and Feb. 20-21 in Orlando (Central and East). As for the UNFI Holiday and Winter shows, they’ll be held June 4-5 in Uncasville, CT (East) and Aug. 6-7 in Minneapolis (Central and West), respectively.