United Natural Foods inks deal with Safeway

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A food distributor has penned a three-year agreement with a supermarket chain to provide customers with nonproprietary natural, organic and specialty products.

United Natural Foods said it will assume distribution to all of Safeway's banners, effective this October. The company said it is expecting a brief transition period from Safeway's current distributors.

"We are pleased to establish a distribution relationship with Safeway and are excited about the opportunities this agreement provides," United Natural Foods SVP national distribution Sean Griffin said. "Our ability to continue to gain market share reflects the ongoing efforts by all of our associates to service our customers' needs, and further strengthens our position as the nation's leading distributor of natural, organic and specialty products. We are in the process of finalizing a transition plan with Safeway in order to provide them with excellent service levels and support, while ensuring there are no disruptions to any of our existing customers."

Commenting on the agreement, Safeway's merchandising president Kelly Griffith said the retailer is looking forward to the new partnership, which will "provide the variety of specialty, natural, organic and regionally relevant products that will meet our customers' needs."

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