UNFI Earns QAI Organic Certification, Becoming First U.S. Food Distributor Certified Coast-to-Coast

September 12, 2002

"Becoming the first coast-to-coast certified organic distributor is a testimony of our steadfast commitment to the organic mission, our suppliers, our customers, and to the consumer," said Ron Lautrup, United Natural Foods' National Commodities Director.

Ellen P. Holton, Marketing Director for QAI, applauded UNFI's efforts saying, "UNFI's organic certification is the result of months of planning, hard work and diligence. This process involved a comprehensive review of UNFI's operating, purchasing, and audit trail systems and procedures. The task of choosing to certify its entire distribution network demonstrates UNFI's commitment to preserving organic integrity through the entire supply chain. We are fortunate to count UNFI among our clients who champion the growth and support of the organic industry."

According to Daniel Atwood, United Natural Foods' National Vice President of Marketing, UNFI's motivation in selecting QAI as its organic certification provider is evident. "UNFI is the leader in organic and natural products distribution in the U.S. and QAI is the leader in global organic certification. It is a perfect match that our two companies work together and continue to promote and grow the organic industry."

About United Natural Foods, Inc.: Based in Dayville, Connecticut, United Natural Foods, Inc. carries and distributes over 30,000 products to more than 7,000 customers nationwide. The Company serves a wide variety of retail formats including conventional supermarket chains, natural product superstores and independent retail operators. For more information on United Natural Foods, Inc., visit the Company's web site at www.unfi.com .

About Quality Assurance International: QAI has offices in the U.S., Canada and Japan, with operations in Latin America. QAI verifies organic and other claims for more than 2,700 client locations. These include agricultural producers, contract packing operations, primary manufacturers and trader- distributors. QAI's certification programs are designed to verify compliance at every link of the product handling chain. This assures the consumer that product integrity is preserved in the marketplace. For further information on QAI, visit the Company's website at www.qai-inc.com .

"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Statements in this press release regarding United Natural's business which are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" that involve risks and uncertainties. For a discussion of such risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, including but not limited to general business conditions, the impact of competition and our dependence on principal customers, see "Risk Factors" in the Company's quarterly report on Form 10-Q filed with the Commission on June 13, 2002, and its other filings under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. 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. United Natural is not undertaking to update any information in the foregoing reports until the effective date of its future reports required by applicable laws.

SOURCE United Natural Foods, Inc.

CONTACT: Daniel Atwood, National Vice President of Marketing of United Natural Foods, Inc., +1-860-779-2800, or General, Joseph Calabrese of FRB Weber Shandwick, +1-212-445-8434, or Ellen P. Holton, Marketing Director of QAI, +1-858-792-3531 URL: http://www.qai-inc.com