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Our History

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UNFI Over the Years

UNFI History

1976
Michael Funk begins selling organic produce out of the back of his Volkswagen van. Soon after, he creates Mountain People’s Warehouse in Denver, vowing “To Boldly Go Where No Distributor Has Gone Before.” It grew to become the largest full line natural foods distributor in the Western U.S.
1976
Michael Funk begins selling organic produce out of the back of his Volkswagen van. Soon after, he creates Mountain People’s Warehouse in Denver, vowing “To Boldly Go Where No Distributor Has Gone Before.” It grew to become the largest full line natural foods distributor in the Western U.S.
Norman Cloutier opens Cornucopia Natural Foods in Rhode Island. It got its start as a small retail store, but Cloutier converted it to a warehouse to begin wholesale distribution. Cornucopia grew and acquired several other regional distributors, including Rainbow Natural Foods. Rainbow began in 1973 as a small cooperative in downtown Denver and eventually became a national retailer and distributor.
1977
1977
Norman Cloutier opens Cornucopia Natural Foods in Rhode Island. It got its start as a small retail store, but Cloutier converted it to a warehouse to begin wholesale distribution. Cornucopia grew and acquired several other regional distributors, including Rainbow Natural Foods. Rainbow began in 1973 as a small cooperative in downtown Denver and eventually became a national retailer and distributor.
1996
After many years of substantial growth in the East, Cornucopia merged with Mountain People’s Warehouse. The two companies formed UNFI to better serve customers and operate more efficiently.
1996
After many years of substantial growth in the East, Cornucopia merged with Mountain People’s Warehouse. The two companies formed UNFI to better serve customers and operate more efficiently.
Stow Mills of Massachusetts joins UNFI. A regional distributor, Stow Mills’ history is woven into the history of Llama, Toucan & Crow. In 1973, the natural foods store Good Life in Vermont had trouble receiving deliveries from distributors in Boston and New York. Bob Swanson, a clerk at the store, started driving to New York each week to pick up the store’s order. Other stores soon asked Bob to pick up their orders and from there Llama, Toucan & Crow was born. The company expanded and eventually bought Stow Mills and began to operate under the Stow Mills name.
1997
1997
Stow Mills of Massachusetts joins UNFI. A regional distributor, Stow Mills’ history is woven into the history of Llama, Toucan & Crow. In 1973, the natural foods store Good Life in Vermont had trouble receiving deliveries from distributors in Boston and New York. Bob Swanson, a clerk at the store, started driving to New York each week to pick up the store’s order. Other stores soon asked Bob to pick up their orders and from there Llama, Toucan & Crow was born. The company expanded and eventually bought Stow Mills and began to operate under the Stow Mills name.
1998
Hershey Import Company, a roaster and packager for nuts, seeds, dried fruit and snacks, is added to UNFI. The company led the way in trends like trail mixes and yogurt-covered items. In 2009, Hershey Import Company changed its name to Woodstock Farms Manufacturing.

Albert’s Organics, a distributor of organic produce and fresh, perishable items, joins UNFI. Albert’s expertise in sourcing is driven by their long-standing relationships with organic farms around the world. Albert’s was the first Certified Organic distributor with nationwide coverage.
1998
Hershey Import Company, a roaster and packager for nuts, seeds, dried fruit and snacks, is added to UNFI. The company led the way in trends like trail mixes and yogurt-covered items. In 2009, Hershey Import Company changed its name to Woodstock Farms Manufacturing.

Albert’s Organics, a distributor of organic produce and fresh, perishable items, joins UNFI. Albert’s expertise in sourcing is driven by their long-standing relationships with organic farms around the world. Albert’s was the first Certified Organic distributor with nationwide coverage.
Source Organic, a brokerage joining organic producers with retailers and wholesalers, joins the UNFI Family by merging with Albert’s Organics.
2001
2001
Source Organic, a brokerage joining organic producers with retailers and wholesalers, joins the UNFI Family by merging with Albert’s Organics.
2002
Regional distributor Blooming Prairie joins UNFI. Blooming Prairie began with three part-timers and a network of volunteers. They hitchhiked to Minneapolis, then rented a truck to pick up orders from People’s Warehouse to fulfill orders. By 2002, Blooming Prairie was the leading Midwest distributor of organic and natural products.

Northeast Cooperatives, a natural foods distributor in the Northeast and Midwest is acquired, bringing with it an expanded customer base and new channels of distribution
2002
Regional distributor Blooming Prairie joins UNFI. Blooming Prairie began with three part-timers and a network of volunteers. They hitchhiked to Minneapolis, then rented a truck to pick up orders from People’s Warehouse to fulfill orders. By 2002, Blooming Prairie was the leading Midwest distributor of organic and natural products.

Northeast Cooperatives, a natural foods distributor in the Northeast and Midwest is acquired, bringing with it an expanded customer base and new channels of distribution
Select Nutrition Distributors is added to the UNFI Family. Since 1977, the company, then known as Super Nutrition, has offered a large selection of vitamins, supplements, sports nutrition and personal care products – many of which are organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan, kosher or paraben free.
2004
2004
Select Nutrition Distributors is added to the UNFI Family. Since 1977, the company, then known as Super Nutrition, has offered a large selection of vitamins, supplements, sports nutrition and personal care products – many of which are organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan, kosher or paraben free.
2005
Roots ‘N Fruits Cooperative joins UNFI by merging with Albert’s Organics. The company was a privately-owned natural foods distributor of organic produce and perishables in the upper Midwest.
2005
Roots ‘N Fruits Cooperative joins UNFI by merging with Albert’s Organics. The company was a privately-owned natural foods distributor of organic produce and perishables in the upper Midwest.
UNFI acquires Millbrook Distribution Services, giving current customers a larger selection of specialty food products and giving Millbrook’s customers more natural and organic choices.
2007
2007
UNFI acquires Millbrook Distribution Services, giving current customers a larger selection of specialty food products and giving Millbrook’s customers more natural and organic choices.
2010
SunOpta Distribution Group, Canada’s first coast-to-coast natural and organic food distributor, is added to UNFI. SunOpta is now known as UNFI Canada.
2010
SunOpta Distribution Group, Canada’s first coast-to-coast natural and organic food distributor, is added to UNFI. SunOpta is now known as UNFI Canada.
UNFI Canada acquires B.K. Sethi Distribution, specializing in a unique variety of Asian, Indian, Hispanic and Caribbean food.
2011
2011
UNFI Canada acquires B.K. Sethi Distribution, specializing in a unique variety of Asian, Indian, Hispanic and Caribbean food.
2012
Pacific Organic Produce is added to the UNFI Family by merging with Albert’s Organics.

Its Purity Organic label markets organic produce. Disley Food Services joins the UNFI Family by merging with UNFI Canada. It specializes in dairy and deli products for food service and retail customers.

Honest Green is added to UNFI, giving customers the opportunity to build their eCommerce business in the natural product market.

UNFI is named one of the World’s Most Admired Companies by Fortune; one of the Top Green Providers by Food Logistics and one of the Healthiest Employers by Providence Business News.
2012
Pacific Organic Produce is added to the UNFI Family by merging with Albert’s Organics.

Its Purity Organic label markets organic produce. Disley Food Services joins the UNFI Family by merging with UNFI Canada. It specializes in dairy and deli products for food service and retail customers.

Honest Green is added to UNFI, giving customers the opportunity to build their eCommerce business in the natural product market.

UNFI is named one of the World’s Most Admired Companies by Fortune; one of the Top Green Providers by Food Logistics and one of the Healthiest Employers by Providence Business News.
Trudeau Distributing Company joins UNFI. The company, well-known for excellent customer service, distributes a full line of specialty gourmet meats, frozen, dairy, bakery, deli, seafood and grocery products throughout the Midwest.

UNFI is named the Healthiest Large Employer in Rhode Island by Providence Business News.
2013
2013
Trudeau Distributing Company joins UNFI. The company, well-known for excellent customer service, distributes a full line of specialty gourmet meats, frozen, dairy, bakery, deli, seafood and grocery products throughout the Midwest.

UNFI is named the Healthiest Large Employer in Rhode Island by Providence Business News.
2014
UNFI acquires Tony’s Fine Foods, bringing a wide selection of fresh products like specialty protein, cheeses, deli and bakery items. Tony’s has 80 years of experience in fresh and expertise in sourcing and curating everyday, unique and seasonal products.

UNFI is named the Healthiest Large Employer in Rhode Island by Providence Business News.
2014
UNFI acquires Tony’s Fine Foods, bringing a wide selection of fresh products like specialty protein, cheeses, deli and bakery items. Tony’s has 80 years of experience in fresh and expertise in sourcing and curating everyday, unique and seasonal products.

UNFI is named the Healthiest Large Employer in Rhode Island by Providence Business News.