Organic and natural foods distributor United Natural Foods Inc's quarterly profit beat market expectations on tighter expense control and lower fuel costs, and the company raised its 2009 earnings outlook.

Shares of the Dayville, Connecticut-based company were up 14 percent at $26.57 Tuesday morning on Nasdaq. They touched a high of $26.98 earlier in the session.

The company, which bought Millbrook in November 2007 to expand its specialty distribution business consisting of ethnic, kosher, gourmet, organic and natural foods, said gross margins rose marginally to 19 percent mainly due to improved margins at its specialty division.

Based on operating efficiencies and cost controls, the company raised its 2009 earnings outlook to a range of $1.34 to $1.38 a share, from its prior view of $1.28 to $1.36 a share.

It also backed its 2009 sales view of $3.45 billion to $3.50 billion.

United Natural, which supplies food to conventional supermarket chains, independent retail operators and natural product superstores like Whole Foods Market Inc , cut its 2009 capital expenditure outlook to a range of about $30 million to $35 million from its prior view of $40 million to $45 million.

For the third quarter ended May 2, the company earned $16.8 million, or 39 cents a share. Analysts were looking for 34 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Revenue came in at $889.5 million, while operating expenses fell 2 percent to $138.3 million.

(Reporting by Mihir Dalal in Bangalore; Editing by Ratul Ray Chaudhuri)