Kings/Balducci’s selects Kehe as specialty distributor

Transition from UNFI expected to be complete this summer

Kings Food Markets and Balducci's Food Lover's Market said Friday that they had selected Kehe Distributors as a specialty distributor for natural and organic, specialty, and private label items, effective immediately.

Kings had previously engaged United Natural Foods for such services. The transition is scheduled to be complete this summer. A source said the account represents sales of around $30 million annually, although a Kehe representative declined to confirm a figure. UNFI, Providence, R.I., had provided natural and organic distribution to Kings since at least 2010.

Kings, an upscale supermarket chain with 25 stores in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, and Balducci’s, a specialty chain with 10 stores, were acquired by KB Holding last year.

"Across the Kehe community, we are energized to put our compelling service, pricing and promotions model to work for Kings and Balducci's," Brandon Barnholt, president and CEO, of Kehe, Naperville, Ill., said in a statement. "We are honored to be a part of their distribution network and to help achieve their future growth plans."

“This partnership will continue to grow our business while enhancing our ability to deliver an expertly curated selection of offerings to the communities we serve,"

Judith Spires, chairman and CEO of Kings and Balducci's, said in a statement.

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