In this episode, we spoke with Melinda Zoccoli, VP- Marketing & Supplier Services at UNFI Canada, Inc, about how they supply and service their customers through a variety of retail formats, including natural product super chains, independent product retailers, and food service clients. She explained how UNFI works as a food distributor to build partnerships with retailers and provide food to every store in Canada from their warehouse. We also discussed how, during the pandemic, they observed an increase in sales of their healthier products and provided solutions to their retailers who were striving to fill their shelves. We discussed the supply chain’s issues in maintaining inventories and how they overcame them. Melinda discussed the enormous increase in the dry grocery sector and how they were able to introduce some of their healthier items. She briefly highlighted the ESG goals and how they are committed to working on programs that improve diversity among the associate base and supplier base. We also discussed the future of the supply chain and how the UNFI ordering program offers retailers system access so that they may place their own orders. We talked about food industry trends and how consumer preferences have evolved in recent years.
UNFI Canada is situated in Ontario and was created in 1976 by real pioneers. Since then, they have made significant attempts to influence the food industry via scale, service, and sustainability. It is North America’s largest distributor of natural, organic, kosher, and specialty food goods.