Gourmet Guru distribution products - Applegate, Fage, Dancing Deer
Gourmet Guru was the first U.S. distributor of Applegate Farms, Fage yogurt and Dancing Deer Baking Co.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) has acquired Gourmet Guru, Inc. for an undisclosed cash amount. Gourmet Guru is a distributor and merchandiser of fresh and organic food focused on new and emerging brands.

Steven Spinner, UNFI
Steven Spinner, president and c.e.o. of UNFI

“We are excited to strengthen our expertise in identifying new and fast-growing health and wellness brands with the strategic acquisition of Gourmet Guru,” said Steven Spinner, president and chief executive officer of UNFI.

Bronx, N.Y.-based Gourmet Guru was founded in 1996 by Jeff Lichtenstein, now c.e.o., after he and his wife, Kim, saw a growing awareness and need for natural and organic food options. The company focused on partnering with small-scale start-ups with potential for growth, which led to Gourmet Guru becoming the first U.S. distributor of then little-known startups Dancing Deer Baking Co., Applegate Farms — now a subsidiary of Hormel Foods Corp. — and Fage yogurt.

“With determination, marketing know-how, and the rise of America's food revolution, we helped turn these and in turn many other small-scale products into household names,” Gourmet Guru said on its web site. “Almost two decades after we opened our doors, Jeff and our entire Gourmet Guru team are still driven by our quest to rid our families of unnatural, highly processed and adulterated food that still plagues our shelves and pantries. By continuing our mission of finding and developing healthier, natural, non-G.M.O. and organic options, we are proud of the role we play in reinventing the food landscape. Our passion for continuous improvement of our organization, our food chain, our community, our ecosystem and our relationships are what we are most passionate about.”

Gourmet Guru had $50 million in net sales for the 12 months ended June 30. UNFI said the transaction is expected to be neutral to its fiscal 2017 earnings and modestly accretive to its fiscal 2018 earnings.

Kirsten Hogan, UNFI
Kirsten Hogan, national vice-president of retail services for UNFI

“Gourmet Guru brings diverse skills in merchandising and service, targeting cities and high traffic locations, which will enhance UNFI’s unique ability to deliver on the most innovative and local brands,” said Kirsten Hogan, national vice-president of retail services for UNFI.