Independent Natural Food Retailers Association (INFRA) has entered into a partnership agreement with UNFI to service a group of participating members in the Northwest Region of the United States. Initiating a regional agreement has long been a goal of the INFRA Board of Directors, who for the past three years have been examining opportunities that will best serve members’ core values and mission.
A regional agreement fits well for a group of independent retailers as it speaks directly to their marketplace differentials of local economies, unique product sourcing, and sustainable activities that strengthen all stakeholders. “We are excited to enter into this partnership with UNFI. We appreciate the alignment between our two organizations and the willingness for UNFI to work with INFRA on a unique agreement that takes into consideration our members’ independence,” stated Corinne Shindelar, CEO of INFRA.
INFRA has a long-term big picture vision, and believes that supporting and building regional activity is crucial to long-term success. “It allows us to retain a level of fluidity and flexibility, takes into consideration the increasing costs and environmental impact of fuel usage, and begins to build a business model that hopes to better support local food economies. I continue to be amazed at those INFRA members who chose their values and are willing to think outside the box to accomplish their goals. We are looking to see what we can model in other regions of the country, as each region is a unique marketplace,” said Shindelar.
By creating this partnership, participating INFRA members in the Northwest region of the country improve their purchasing position in the market and have a platform that is flexible enough to support innovation. The decision to launch a distribution agreement in the Northwest region was based on the concentration of membership in the region and the level of collaboration these retailers have reached through their engagement in INFRA.
INFRA plans to continue to facilitate programs and activities with all three major distributors, UNFI, Nature’s Best and KeHE. The Board and membership are committed to a diverse and effective supply chain for all of their industry partners.
INFRA is a purchasing cooperative owned and governed by natural and organic food retailers of all sizes “strengthening our members through collaboration to forge a sustainable future”. As one of the fastest growing key accounts in the natural channel, INFRA has captured the attention of the natural food industry.