- United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) has added more than 40 kinds of organic produce to its Wild Harvest private label line, the grocery distributor and retailer said in a press release last Thursday.
- The fruits and vegetables now sporting the brand include bagged apples, russet and sweet potatoes, oranges, broccoli, mangoes, limes, tomatoes, avocados and more.
- The expansion continues UNFI’s efforts to strengthen and broaden its private label operations.
UNFI is attaching the Wild Harvest name to more varieties of produce as the company looks to build its position as a supplier of organic foods.
The grocery supplier has seen consumer interest in Wild Harvest produce grow significantly since it expanded the brand into that category last year, according to the announcement. UNFI has focused on using visual touches including a bold color scheme and prominent labeling to help consumers and store workers connect the brand with organic products — generating an “exceptionally positive” reaction, Dorn Wenninger, senior vice president of produce for UNFI, said in a statement.
UNFI’s efforts to bolster its position in the organic produce space include investments in processes and technology aimed at cutting delivery times and transporting goods to retailers more quickly. The company, which began selling organic produce under the Wild Harvest name last summer, noted that it works directly with growers to pack produce where it is produced to hold down the extra costs linked with organic foods.
UNFI has also taken steps to deepen Wild Harvest’s presence outside the produce arena. Last March, the company entered the plant-based protein space with the line through the addition of several items, including burger patties, breakfast patties, grinds and meatballs. The company also introduced a new Wild Harvest logo and packaging last year as part of an effort to emphasize the brand’s focus on wholesome foods.
Efforts by UNFI to take advantage of growing consumer interest in store brands amid elevated grocery inflation expand beyond Wild Harvest. For example, last August the company said that it had added a trio of new condiments to Woodstock, another organic brand it owns.
UNFI’s efforts to attract shoppers with house brands appear to be paying off. The grocery company recorded private label sales during the first quarter of fiscal 2023 that were ahead of industry-wide private brand growth, CEO Sandy Douglas told investors during an earnings call in December.
“We have made it a significant priority to make that program significantly more competitive and to sustain that kind of outperforming growth rate,” Douglas said, referring to UNFI’s private label operations.