Grocery retail cooperative Allegiance Retail Services has tapped KeHE Distributors as its new primary distributor.
Terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed. Naperville, Ill.-based KeHE said Wednesday that it will bring Allegiance’s independent supermarket members an expanded product portfolio “at a significantly reduced cost,” especially a bigger selection of natural, organic, fresh and specialty foods. KeHE also will provide Allegiance members with a range of services, including data-driven market insights, store-level operational support, and sales, marketing and promotional support.
“We are excited to pursue this partnership with KeHE Distributors,” Mike Conese, vice president of center store for Allegiance Retail Services, said in a statement. “Allegiance Retail Services chose to work with the leading distributor in natural, organic, specialty and fresh products because of their profound understanding of this business segment, deep knowledge of independent retail stores and expertise in trend analysis, which we believe will help us better serve our members.”
Overall, Iselin, N.J.-based Allegiance encompasses 28 members operating over 130 supermarkets in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania under the Foodtown, Freshtown Marketplace, D’Agostino, Gristedes, Pathmark, LaBella Marketplace, Brooklyn Harvest Market, Market Fresh, Big Deal Food Market, Green Way Markets and Food Basics banners. The company’s private brands include Foodtown, Green Way and Rancher’s Legend.
KeHE noted that Allegiance has sharpened its focus on better-for-you product categories as more of its shoppers have embraced healthier lifestyles, and the new distribution partnership is expected to help further the grocery cooperative’s plan to grow that segment of its business.
“We are confident that KeHE can serve Allegiance Retail Service members with excellent service, value, and industry expertise,” according to Jennifer Mihajlov, vice president of Northeast, Southeast and Midwest independent sales at KeHE. “We are like-minded companies that share a commitment to optimizing the success of the independent grocer with first-to-market, highly-focused assortment, evolutionary marketing and merchandising expertise while maintaining individual banner identity.”
An employee-owned, B Corp-certified company, KeHE supplies natural, organic, fresh and specialty food, groceries and other products to more than 30,000 natural food stores, supermarket chains, independent grocery stores, online retailers, retail pharmacies, convenience stores, foodservice providers and specialty retailers across North America.
Earlier this month, KeHE announced expanded distribution of natural and specialty products with Southeastern grocer Publix Super Markets. And in December, KeHE opened its 17th distribution center, a 500,000-square-foot facility in Goodyear, Ariz. The launch of the new DC, announced in October, followed the openings of a 377,000-square-foot DC in West Ellettsville, Ind., in November 2020 and a 550,000-square-foot DC in North East, Md., in October 2020.