US natural food distributor United Natural Foods has reported net income, excluding special items, of US$5.4m for the first quarter of fiscal 2003, up 9% from the first quarter of the previous year. The company's net sales for the quarter ended 31 October 2002 were $311m, an increase of 10.9% from the year-ago period. United Natural Foods attributed the increase to growth in the independent and mass market distribution channels of around 11.8% and 21.4% respectively.