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Animal Welfare Policy



UNFI does not directly engage in raising or processing animals. However, as a purchaser of animal products, it is our obligation to ensure our suppliers meet or exceed UNFI retail banners’ standards and comply with government regulations pertaining to the humane treatment and processing of animals.  


Education, employee awareness, vendor supplier commitment and ongoing verification practices are key to maintaining sound animal welfare practices at our retail banners.  These practices, along with welfare and food safety inspection audits are integral components of our customer and vendor relationships. We work with vendor partners to assess emerging methods of humane animal welfare handling/treatment and to ensure those methods are thoroughly tested and scientifically evaluated.

Product Sourcing

UNFI's goal is to provide our customers with the safest, highest quality products possible. Like many retailers, UNFI requires that vendor processing programs comply with all existing local, state and federal regulations. It is UNFI's belief that, when applicable, governmental bodies are best able to determine required handling procedures based on appropriate science, technology and application. 


UNFI will:

  • support animal treatment programs that are adopted as industry standards
  • stay attuned to new technologies developed to advance such programs
  • monitor and ensure our vendor community’s compliance regarding humane treatment/processing of animals, consistent with government regulations
  • continue to engage suppliers that provide the safest, highest-quality products for our customers
A cow laying in a green pasture
UNFI to Transition to Cage-free Eggs by 2025

On March 29, 2016, UNFI announced plans to transition to selling 100 percent cage-free eggs at its grocery retail banners by 2025 or sooner based on available supply, affordability, and customer demand. Currently, cage-free eggs account for nearly 12 percent of UNFI's total grocery retail egg sales.  In August, 2015 UNFI announced all of its Wild Harvest® shell egg products would be cage-free by the end of that year. Today the Wild Harvest brand sells only 100 percent cage-free eggs.

UNFI Statement on Gestation Crate Housing – March 2014:

In 2012, UNFI announced we’ll be working with our pork suppliers to identify alternatives to gestation crates. At that time, we asked our suppliers to provide us with their plans to provide pork products without using gestation crates by 2017. We’re pleased that many of our suppliers have made progress on this important issue since we made our announcement.

While our company structure changed significantly following our March 2013 sales transaction, we remain committed to this important effort. As a next step, we will be contacting our pork suppliers to receive an updated progress report this year, while also maintaining our goal of working with them to identify potential alternatives by 2017.