US natural food distributor United Natural Foods has posted a rise in quarterly net income, boosted by growing consumer demand for natural and organic foods.

The company reported net income of US$7.0m, or 35 cents per share, for the second quarter to 31 January, compared to $5.5m, or 28 cents per share, for the year-ago period.

Net sales for the second quarter of fiscal 2004 were $393.2m, an increase of 16.2% from the $338.4m recorded in the same period of the previous year.

“We achieved another strong quarterly performance, driven by successful implementation of strategies focused on meeting the growing consumer demand for natural and organic foods. During the quarter we realised solid increases in net sales, net income and earnings per share, all indications that our sales and marketing strategies are on target,” said CEO Steven Townsend.

“Further validating our business model, we were pleased to re-establish our primary distribution relationship with Wild Oats Market. We remain on target to assume primary distribution to Wild Oats Market natural food stores by 1 April 2004,” Townsend added.