WholeFoodsWhole Foods has led the pack of food retailers’ stocks in 2012. The retailer has gained about 35% and closed on 31st December at $91.16.

This is the 4th straight year that the organic and natural product specialist has ranked #1.  Food wholesalers and retailers are tracked by Supermarket News. Whole Foods Market stock had lost a large three quarters in value in the year 2008 due to an economic downturn.

Whole Foods supplier United Natural Foods Inc. came in second with a 34% gain and closed at $53.59. Of 24 food wholesalers and retailers, 16  recorded gains for last year. United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) has seen a gain, despite having labor issues in the year. The supplier has seen strikes at their warehouses, and recently Teamsters has been encouraging consumers to boycott its products that are supplied to various retailers. United Natural Foods Inc. is based in Providence, R.I.

The Supermarket News composite index is calculated by Huntington, New York-based Data Network. In 2012, the index increased by 9.29%, which when compared with S&P’s 500, shows an increase of 13.5% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average recorded an increase of 7.26%.

Supervalu, based in Minneapolis was the weakest performer of the year closing 2012 at $2.47, which is a decline of 68.6% in 2012, as it unveiled its plans to get buyers for all or some of the retailer’s assets. Pleasanton, California-based Safeway declined 10.75% and closed at $18.09, Kroger Co, based in Cincinnati closed at $26.02 and saw a gain in their stock of 9.7% for 2012.