US natural and organic distributor United Natural Foods has secured a deal to supply Safeway Inc stores across the country.

UNFI said today (25 July) that a three-year agreement to supply Safeway with "non-proprietary natural, organic and speciality products" will start in October. It estimated that the tie-up will increase its annual sales by 4% from its 2012 financial year.

"We are pleased to establish a distribution relationship with Safeway and are excited about the opportunities this agreement provides," said Sean Griffin, UNFI's senior vice president for national distribution.

UNFI said the deal would see it incur US$1.5-2.5m in start-up costs in the fourth quarter of its 2011 financial year, which ends on Saturday (30 July), and in the first quarter of the next fiscal year.