United Natural Foods Awarded EPA's ENERGY STAR Rating for Its Chesterfield, NH Distribution Facility

Jan 26, 2010, 08:00 ET from United Natural Foods, Inc.

PROVIDENCE, R.I., Jan. 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- United Natural Foods, Inc. (Nasdaq: UNFI) today announced that its Chesterfield, New Hampshire distribution center has been awarded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) esteemed ENERGY STAR rating, marking it as one of the most efficient distribution facilities in the nation for superior energy efficiency and environmental protection. ENERGY STAR is a leading national metric for evaluating building energy efficiency.

To qualify, the Chesterfield facility had to place among the top 25% of the most energy-efficient facilities in the U.S.  Buildings that earn the ENERGY STAR rating typically utilize 35% less energy and emit 35% less CO2 into the atmosphere when compared to average buildings.  Additionally, the facility meets or exceeds standards for thermal comfort, indoor air quality and luminance levels.  

Features at UNFI's Chesterfield distribution center that support these ratings include energy efficient motion-activated T-8 lighting in the full-case warehouse area and motion-activated T-5 lighting for the repack mezzanine.  Committed to exceptional indoor air quality as well as energy usage reduction, the Company implemented enhancements to the administration area's HVAC system including the replacement of the main office air conditioning unit as well as upgrades to the duct system that greatly improved efficiency in the delivery of both heating and cooling.

"This recognition marks our most recent success with the environmental sustainability initiatives that we have implemented over the past few years," commented Steve Spinner, UNFI's President and Chief Executive Officer. "Through our efforts as an environmentally-conscious organization, we continue to improve energy efficiency throughout the enterprise while remaining committed to managing costs and improving shareholder return."

The 319,000 square-foot Chesterfield facility, which houses over 500 employees, serves as a regional distribution hub for customers in New England, New Jersey, Metro New York and all of New York State.  Thirty percent of the total floor space within the facility is served by mechanical cooling equipment.  Repack selection utilizes paperless "pick-to-light" technology, which greatly reduces the amount of paper used in order processing.

"Further demonstrating our ongoing and deep commitment to environmental stewardship, we have been focused on operating energy efficient and sustainable buildings across our entire supply chain, and we are very pleased to receive this prestigious recognition," said Tom Dziki, Senior Vice President of Sustainable Development.

ENERGY STAR was introduced by EPA in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Today, the ENERGY STAR label can be found on more than 60 different kinds of products, new homes, and commercial and industrial buildings. Products and buildings that have earned the ENERGY STAR designation prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy-efficiency specifications set by the government. Last year alone, Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved about $19 billion on their energy bills while reducing the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those of 29 million vehicles.

About United Natural Foods

United Natural Foods, Inc. (www.unfi.com) carries and distributes more than 60,000 products to more than 17,000 customer locations nationwide. The Company serves a wide variety of retail formats including conventional supermarket chains, natural product superstores, independent retail operators and the food service channel. United Natural Foods, Inc. was ranked by Forbes in 2005 as one of the "Best Managed Companies in America," ranked by Fortune in 2006, 2007 and 2009 as one of its "Most Admired Companies," ranked by Business Ethics as one of its "100 Best Corporate Citizens for 2006" and winner of the Supermarket News 2008 Sustainability Excellence Award.

For more information on United Natural Foods, Inc., visit the Company's website at www.unfi.com.

"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Statements in this press release regarding the Company's business that are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" that involve risks and uncertainties and are based on current expectations and management's estimates; actual results may differ materially. The risks and uncertainties which could impact these statements are described in the Company's filings under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, including its quarterly report on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on December 10, 2009, and include, but are not limited to, the Company's dependence on principal customers; the Company's sensitivity to general economic conditions, including the current economic environment, changes in disposable income levels and consumer spending trends; increased fuel costs; the Company's sensitivity to inflationary pressures; the relatively low margins and economic sensitivity of the Company's business; the ability to identify and successfully complete acquisitions of other foodservice distributors; and management's allocation of capital and the timing of capital expenditures. Any forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and, as such, speak only as of the date made. The Company is not undertaking to update any information in the foregoing reports until the effective date of its future reports required by applicable laws. Any projections of future results of operations are based on a number of assumptions, many of which are outside the Company's control and should not be construed in any manner as a guarantee that such results will in fact occur. These projections are subject to change and could differ materially from final reported results. The Company may from time to time update these publicly announced projections, but it is not obligated to do so.  

SOURCE United Natural Foods, Inc.