Providence, RI—United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) announced that J. Alexander (Sandy) Miller Douglas will take over as Chief Executive Officer and serve as a member of its Board of Directors effective August 9, 2021. Douglas will replace Steven Spinner, who is retiring from his position as CEO and Board member but will continue to provide management and Board advisory services through a transition period for up to one year after his August 9 retirement.Alexander (Sandy) Miller Douglas has been appointed CEO of UNFI. Image courtesy of UNFI.
Douglas most recently served as CEO of Staples, Inc., and prior that that was President of Coca-Cola North America, overseeing the $10 billion revenue business, encompassing all aspects of its consumer and business-to-business operations, according to a press release from UNFI.
“We are pleased to welcome Sandy as our new CEO and member of the UNFI Board,” said Denise Clark, Chair of the Board’s Nominating and Governance Committee and CEO Succession Planning Committee, in the release. “He has a demonstrated track record leading large-scale transformation and growth through strategic, customer-focused action. His extensive experience, which is directly aligned with UNFI’s focus on growing the core business while investing in innovation, make Sandy well-suited to successfully drive the Company through its next chapter of growth.”
Douglas said he was honored to join UNFI, adding, “.The Company’s vision to transform the future of food has never been more important, and the opportunities in front of us are tremendous. Under Steve, UNFI has built a strong foundation for growth, and I look forward to working with UNFI’s exceptional leadership team, the 30,000 hard-working associates across this entire organization and our Board to continue delivering innovative growth platforms that help make our customers stronger and our operations more successful.”
UNFI Board member and Co-Founder Michael Funk also praised Spinner, noting his “transformational impact” on the company. “Since taking the helm in 2008, under his leadership, the Company has become the largest grocery wholesaler in the country by acquiring a variety of businesses and innovating new products and services. Steve has navigated this tremendous growth and change the right way, bringing teams together and preserving the culture of UNFI and its core mission and values. As co-Founder of the Company, I personally want to extend my gratitude for all that Steve has accomplished during his 13 years at UNFI.”
Reflecting on his time at UNFI, Spinner said, “It has been my great honor to lead UNFI. I am so proud of what this team, including Mr. Chris Testa, who will continue in his President role, continues to achieve as the largest grocery distributor in North America. With unmatched scale, product and service offerings, and a commitment to innovation and sustainability, I truly believe UNFI is positioned to deliver exceptional value for its customers and stakeholders going forward.”
UNFI also announced that the UNFI Board elected Jack Stahl to serve as Independent Chair of the Board. “Since joining our Board, Jack has made meaningful contributions and developed strong relationships,” said Clark. “Jack’s experience in executive and board leadership roles provide a strong foundation for his leadership of UNFI. The entire board looks forward to working closely with Jack and Sandy as we guide UNFI’s growth and support the entire team in their mission to transform the future of food.”
With so many dedicated natural products retailers out there working tirelessly
on the frontlines to serve their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, trying to select just one to highlight as the 2021 Retailer of the Year is a challenge, and we need your help. Please share your nomination for the 2021 WholeFoods Magazine Retailer of the Year. If you know a retailer who has gone above and beyond, let us know!
To submit your nomination, include the following in an email to Maggie Jaqua at email@example.com. Please include the word NOMINATION in your subject line.
Your nomination must include:
- Your name (this will be anonymous).
- Your affiliation/company name.
- Your phone number.
- Name of retailer you are nominating, and why they deserve to win.
- Location and contact information or website for the retailer.
Deadline for submitting a nomination is SEPTEMBER 8, 2021. We’ll announce the winner later this year, and share what makes this retailer exception in our November issue.
Washington, D.C.—Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) have released a discussion draft of the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, which would decriminalize cannabis at the federal level. As explained in a press release, this proposed legislation would “help put an end to the unfair targeting and treatment of communities of color by removing cannabis from the federal list of controlled substances and empowering states to implement their own cannabis laws.”
Key points outlined in the discussion draft :
- As of July 2021, 18 states have legalized adult-use cannabis, reaching over 40% of Americans.
- 91% of Americans believe cannabis should be legal for either adult or medical use.
- The cannabis industry employs over 320,000 workers and generated over $17.5 billion in sales in 2020 (32% growth in 2020).
- By 2025, the cannabis industry could have an estimated nearly $45.9 billion in
- Cannabis remains illegal at the federal level and the burden of prohibition falls disproportionately on Black and brown Americans: Black people are 3.6 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis use than white people, despite even cannabis use across demographics.
- People of color make up less than one-fifth of cannabis business owners and managers.
Within this broader bill, there is a provision focused on CBD. The Natural Products Association (NPA) shared news of provision, which directs the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to set a safe level of consumption for cannabidiol (CBD) products. Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., President and CEO of NPA, has said setting a safe level of daily exposure is “the number one issue” when it comes to regulating CBD products.
“Setting a safe level of consumption for CBD products is long overdue, but it remains the best path forward for consumers and the industry,” said Dr. Fabricant in a press release on the topic. “Unlike other federal bills, this one would do what NPA alone has long called for: It would direct FDA to expedite a rule that sets an upper limit for daily consumption. Setting this limit provides clarity for CBD innovators, and also creates a clear path to the well-regulated CBD marketplace that consumers deserve. While we still believe dietary supplements and foods should be under one piece of legislation, this is a positive development for consumers who use these products every day, and we look forward to working with Congress and the FDA to ensure that we have clear federal guidelines and safety standards for CBD products.”Related: Bill to Ensure Safe, Equal Access to CBD Introduced in U.S. Senate
Legality of Sustainability, CBD, and Quality Standards
2021 Phytocannabinoids Market Update: Troubleshooting & Trendspotting
NPA has been urging the FDA to regulate CBD since 2017, including crafting legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives that provides resources so the FDA can perform a Health Hazard Evaluation (HHE) and set a safe level of CBD for consumers to use each day. The process, according to the press release, would follow the same precedent as red yeast rice, which allows a natural product to contain a level of a drug ingredient that the FDA has determined to be safe. With the exception of Epidiolex, NPA stressed, all CBD products in the U.S. are considered illegal by the federal government.
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Virtual—The Naturally Informed event Active Nutrition: Mastering the Market took a look at consumer research—and at where scientific research was lacking—in order to find unmet needs in this market, and the opportunities they present.
Doug Kalman, Ph.D., R.D., VP of Scientific Affairs, Nutrasource, and Abbie Smith-Ryan, Ph.D., Director of the Applied Physiology Laboratory, University of North Carolina, held an entire session on unmet needs. Kalman pointed out that the sports nutrition market doesn’t just cover professional athletes, or even just weekend warriors—he listed 10 different perspectives from which to consider the market. And within those categories, there are people from all different races, genders, ages, living situations, health statuses, and religions, all with their own unique—and often unmet—needs. For instance, he said: “I recently did a Pubmed search on ‘nutritional needs of the female athlete,’ and out of 789 papers that had that in their mesh titles, there was only one paper on the nutritional needs of the female athlete, and it was published in 1984.” He also discussed needs for vegetarians and vegans, educational needs for high school coaches, needs for Muslim athletes who adhere to Ramadan and the attendant fasting, and more.
Smith-Ryan followed up with a deep dive on the needs of female athletes, discussing the impact of menstruation, the impact of the hormonal cycle, and how nutritional needs and physical ability can change throughout the cycle. She also noted the effects of contraception—or, really, the lack thereof, because most research only includes women not on contraception, meaning that we don’t know much about the health and needs of the 65% of women aged 15-49 who are taking contraception, creating yet another opportunity within the sports nutrition market.
Register at www.NaturallyInformed.net to view Nutrasource’s presentation—and all the other presentations—on-demand.
Another unmet need: suncare. Zev Ziegler, Head of Global Brand & Marketing, Health, discussed Lycored’s consumer research: “44% of respondents said most of their usual physical activity took place outdoors. U.S. consumers said they had exercised outdoors more since the pandemic. And when it came to active lifestyle health concerns, 63% said damage to the sun, above 53% who said muscular injury and 51% who said illness/immune health. But only 34% of respondents who used sunscreen regularly reapply it.”
Karin Hermoni, Ph.D., Head of Science & Products, Lycored, noted that ingestible suncare is meant to supplement a suncare routine, not replace it. “What is the best way to do that? With a supplement that provides full-body benefits,” she said. “Carotenoids accumulate in the body and the skin, ready to combat inflammation and redness as they appear.” She also took a deep dive into the science behind Lycored’s wellness extract, supporting its use for suncare.
Keep an eye out for more coverage, or skip the wait and check out the sessions that interest you by registering at www.NaturallyInformed.net to watch them all on-demand for free.
Parsippany, NJ—DSM announced a new partnership with Mile High Labs (MHL). According to a press release, the two companies will work together to develop unique hemp-derived cannabinoid solutions.
“There is a strong consumer pull in the CBD space for high-quality, health-benefit driven solutions, but as yet the market is still to arrive at recognized science or quality standards,” said Frederic Boned, Vice President, Human Nutrition & Health at DSM North America, in the press release. “DSM has the core competencies, combined with a deep understanding of consumer and customer needs, to help brands enter the cannabinoid market early and build a leading position. Our science-backed solutions will deliver the purity, reliability and traceability that are currently lacking and enable our customers to truly differentiate themselves. MHL is the ideal partner due to its staunch commitment to sustainability, quality and regulatory compliance, as well as its extensive cannabinoid manufacturing capabilities. Together, we are committed to developing the standards the cannabinoid industry sorely needs. Our complementary areas of expertise will support customers along the entire product development process.”
Jonathan Hilley, CEO at MHL, added: “MHL is excited to team up with such a credible player in human nutrition and health, and one that so closely aligns with our ambitions to uncover the full potential of this space. This partnership is an important milestone in the evolution of MHL and a defining moment for our industry. We look forward to pooling our expertise to deliver cannabinoid innovation that is scalable, sustainable, cost-effective and provides the building blocks for exciting new consumer products.”
DSM will make use of MHL’s 400,000 square-feet of manufacturing facilities to apply its scientific, applications, and formulations expertise to combine CBD and other hemp derivatives with micronutrients. The resulting market-ready and premix solutions will enable speedy product development.
“This is just the beginning for DSM. Our partnership with MHL will be a key enabler for us as we take our first steps in this burgeoning market,” concludes DSM’s Boned. “The potential of CBD and other hemp-derived cannabinoids hasn’t yet been fully realized, so we’re investing in the future of the category. As regulatory frameworks are defined, DSM’s end-to-end capabilities and unrivalled portfolio make us ideally positioned to lead and shape the market. This category is full of promise, and we’re excited to partner with MHL and play an integral role in tapping into the potential and enabling customers to create products with real purpose. Watch this space!”
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