Some industry members are looking back on a fun, innovation-filled experience in Orlando, Florida, following United Natural Foods, Inc.’s (UNFI) Natural & Conventional Spring & Summer Show. As the first of four major buying shows the company will host in 2023, this event brought together over 1,000 brands and more than 2,000 customers as UNFI harnesses its scale and offerings to help grocers of all sizes achieve success.
“Customers came to find deals and suppliers came ready to give deals and gain market share, and that’s a wonderful scenario for a buying show,” said UNFI President Chris Testa. “Many customers lined up products they wanted and pre-booked them and then came here to finalize the price and, in most cases, negotiate even better discounts on top of the base deals. That’s what makes our shows so valuable.”
With over 170,000 square feet of show space, UNFI’s Orlando show offered an ideal venue to introduce new products and line extensions, with the company estimating more than 1,500 new items available for retailers to discover.
According to the release, UNFI’s UpNext team kicked off the show by hosting six up-and-coming brands in a Pitch Slam competition to spotlight their products to retailers. UNFI’s UpNext program discovers and mentors emerging entrepreneurs and brands, guiding them through all aspects of grocery distribution and preparing them to best scale their business to support customer growth.
The Orlando show also provided an opportunity to spotlight new and innovative solutions, including electronic shelf labels and scan-and-go technologies.
“Independent retailers want to have the same capabilities as big-box stores, and our Professional Services offerings can help enable that,” said Testa. “Customers, especially from our natural accounts, have been hearing about our services for three years, and they’re now starting to be curious. We saw significant interest at this show from natural customers interested in how we can help them with shelf management, how we can leverage insights to help them fix their mix, and how we can help with pricing and credit card fees. It’s been one of Professional Services’ best shows for new leads, and I’m excited to see how we can help customers with these new opportunities.”
UNFI’s next show will be the Mohegan Sun Natural Holiday Show in Uncasville, Connecticut, June 7–8. For more information, click here.
As more updates come to light, DMN will certainly be here to report.