Cancel OK

UNFI to bring AI-powered warehouse automation system in new distribution center


January 29, 2024 PROVIDENCE, R.I.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–United Natural Foods, Inc. BB #:158953 today announced plans to implement an A.I.-powered robotic automation system in its soon-to-be-completed distribution center (DC), in Manchester, PA.

This advanced system, manufactured by Symbotic, is the second installation for UNFI and part of the Company’s commitment to further enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of its distribution center network. Once installed, UNFI expects the system to enhance the customer experience, improve quality and service to customers, increase capacity within its facilities, and lower overall costs to fulfill customer orders.

UNFI’s new Manchester distribution center is a 1.3 million square-foot facility set to come online in the Summer of 2024 to improve existing customer experience and support new customer growth across the Northeast. Once completed, Symbotic’s end-to-end solution will provide robotic case pick capabilities in Manchester’s dry grocery area, improve order accuracy for customers, and automate the assembly of customer order pallets.

Part of UNFI’s multi-year transformation plan, this new technology is intended to improve the customer receiving and replenishment experience when the order is delivered at the store. It is expected to be fully operational by Spring 2025.

“We always want to make doing business with UNFI easier for our customers and suppliers, and that means investing in ways to make our supply chain more effective and efficient,” said Erin Horvath, UNFI’s Chief Operating Officer.

“Automating key distribution centers, such as Centralia and our new facility in Manchester, will help us improve order accuracy and deliver a better overall customer experience, while also reducing operating cost. Symbotic has been a great partner and we’re pleased that the Centralia installation is on schedule, allowing us to begin implementation of our next automation system in Manchester.”

The Symbotic warehouse automation system in Manchester is the same technology that is currently being deployed at the Company’s distribution center in Centralia, WA. The installation of the Centralia system is on track to become operational in the first half of 2024.

About UNFI

UNFI is North America’s premier grocery wholesaler delivering the widest variety of fresh, branded, and owned brand products to more than 30,000 locations throughout North America, including natural product superstores, independent retailers, conventional supermarket chains, ecommerce providers, and food service customers. UNFI also provides a broad range of value-added services and segmented marketing expertise, including proprietary technology, data, market insights, and shelf management to help customers and suppliers build their businesses and brands. As the largest full-service grocery partner in North America, UNFI is committed to building a food system that is better for all and is uniquely positioned to deliver great food, more choices, and fresh thinking to customers. To learn more about how UNFI is delivering value for its stakeholders, visit

For UNFI Investors:
Kristyn Farahmand
Steve Bloomquist

For Media:
Charles Davis