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Rebekah Baker Details Program Addition and Expansions in United Natural Foods, Inc. Portfolio

Rebekah Baker Details Program Addition and Expansions in United Natural Foods, Inc. Portfolio

Wednesday, July 5th, 2023

Word in the aisles and on social media is that shoppers can’t get enough of cheese—an even bigger draw are artisanal products. So, how to meet this demand? Enter United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) and its artisanal programs. With a curated selection of specialty and craft cheeses, the distributor has just the right options to fill your shelves.

Rebekah Baker, National Sales Director, United Natural Foods, Inc.“Our portfolio of cheese is wide-reaching, and we aim to highlight the best cheese for our customers. The Midwest Select Program is new to our offerings, and it is inspired by our American Artisan Program. Our customers will have access to a wide selection from our local artisan producers in the Midwest,” Rebekah Baker, National Sales Director at UNFI, tells me. “With the Midwest Select program, we’re able to provide cheese producer exposure and relationships with retailers that help further their business, while also ensuring that our customers are receiving the highest-quality product.”

Options such as Eichten’s Cheese, Caves of Faribault, and Carr Valley Cheese are just a few United States names buyers can gain access to. The program also elevates small family-run farms in the Midwest, providing distribution as well as marketing and resources.

Inspired by its American Artisan Program, United Natural Foods, Inc.’s new Midwest Select Program gives its customers access to a wide selection of cheeses from its local artisan producers in the Midwest

For variety, UNFI has a reliable European connection through its European Artisan Program and French Air Program. As UNFI is committed to delivering fresh, high-quality offerings to its customers, the distributor’s team of experts has built lasting relationships with artisan cheesemakers across Europe. Thanks to this, UNFI has expanded these programs’ reach in the United States.

“UNFI has decades of experience in specialty foods, so being able to share the stories of European producers and products in the United States is a major focus point for us. By expanding our European Artisan and French Air programs, we are furthering our mission to bring the highest quality products to customers,” continues Rebekah. “The European Artisan Program brings a unique value to UNFI customers, as it provides retailers access to high-quality cheeses from across the world. The French Air Program involves flying in unique, delicate, and short-shelf-life products from French producers every three weeks, ensuring the freshness of all specialty cheeses.”

For buyers seeking variety, United Natural Foods, Inc. has a reliable European connection through its European Artisan Program and French Air Program

Thanks to these recent expansions, the programs now cover three distribution centers and reach six states.

Not only does UNFI provide high-quality products, but the distributor also provides promotional strategies for its customers. The company creates in-store marketing tools for retailers involved in the artisan programs, including sign packages and QR codes that link to the cheesemakers’ stories.

Specialty cheese is a story-driven category, but not all retailers have dedicated staff that can share those stories with consumers,” explains Rebekah. “The additional marketing and in-store support helps to bridge that gap, showcasing the cheese producers’ stories to shoppers.”

Interested in learning more? UNFI will be highlighting its American Artisan, European Artisan, and French Air program at its 2023 Fresh Specialty Show on August 23, 2023, at Fort Mason Festival Pavilion.

Cheese is always the answer; the question is, which one?

DMN is eager to see how far the industry goes, so keep an eye out for more updates.

United Natural Foods, Inc.