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What Is the Importance of a Food Distributor in the Food Market?

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Most people don’t think of how the delicious food they eat arrived on their dinner plate.

If people had to think of all that it took for their food to get on their plate (from the slaughterhouse to the packing facility), they would certainly appreciate their meals more.

After all, it takes hard work and efficient communication to get to the point where consumers can purchase a product. Certainly, not something to take for granted.

The food supply chain refers to all of the stages a product goes through to be delivered. It includes moments from production to consumption (the time when the waiter brings food to the tables).

The food supply chain is a huge and complex process. Partners, from food distributors to restaurant owners, have to cooperate and work together for everything to go smoothly.

Every restaurant or grocer also plays a role in the food management process. They’re the ones who research the best suppliers for their business, organize the delivery and make the final choices.

This value chain demands knowledge-sharing, excellent communication, and understanding between partners (distributors and foodservice operators) to work effectively.

Continue reading to understand this process further, as well as the critical role food distribution plays.

What Do Food Service Distributors Do?

The key role of a food distributor is providing food and related items (tools used to consume foods like cups, plates, and napkins) to foodservice operators (e.g., grocery store, restaurant, chef, school cafeteria).

It may sound simple, but it’s not. Food distribution involves more than transporting food from a manufacturer or food distribution center to where consumers will purchase it.

Several manufacturers outsource their logistics and hire food service distributors. By hiring food service distributors, it is more convenient, as the manufacturer doesn’t have to manage dedicated fleets or invest in logistics themselves to distribute their product.

Warehousing and storage are additional considerations for food manufacturers. While large distributors operate their own warehouses, specialized distributors (which tend to be smaller ones) may skip the warehousing process and instead transport fresh products in refrigerated sprinters directly from the producer to the foodservice operator.

Overall, top-rated food distributors communicate with their partners effectively, ensure that the product is delivered on time and they are avoiding waste, which is essential to becoming more sustainable. Having an unreliable partner can be damaging to a company’s reputation and the planet, so ensure you choose an excellent one. 

Benefits: Improved Marketing and Sell

Food distributors can be great for marketing and selling the products they carry to foodservice operators.

In many cases, foodservice operators buy foods from distributors, as it’s more convenient. Why? Because it eliminates the need to work with different manufacturers (from growers to factories) to find products. This may not always be the case, considering farm-to-table restaurants, but it does happen quite often.

Another positive aspect of using a reputable food distributor is their marketing efforts. Thanks to them, manufacturers can fully dedicate themselves to their core competency, which is creating more of their product.

In fact, they’ll only be working with distributors as an intermediary. This is better than managing relationships with individual foodservice operators.

Distributors also have the infrastructure to distribute marketing materials to retailers. Sure, you’ll most likely have to deal with the cost of designing and printing these marketing materials, but, your distributor should get them into the hands of retailers, who will then ensure it gets into the hands of customers. It’s an investment worth making!

Availability Matters

Things are different when you work with a distributor. They’ll not only make your food products available at multiple retail locations, but they’ll also position your products where customers will most likely be searching to purchase them.

Promote Your Products Easily

Wholesale food distributors employ representatives. Their role includes meeting with retailers, as well as introducing food operators to existing products and even new ones.

The best way to market a food product is undoubtedly by providing taste samples. So, work with a food distributor and offer them plenty of free product samples so their product representatives can showcase them when they meet with retailers.

Here’s an extra tip: you can contact your distributor’s marketing representatives to strategize ways to work together to promote your products.

What to Consider: Your Responsibilities

Although there is still work to be done, you’ll be taking a massive weight off your shoulders by forming a partnership with a food distributor.

You’ll still have to consider the sales strategies you’ll take (if they don’t offer one) and have a clear understanding of the cost margins.

You’ll have to keep track of the distribution timelines, and you must know how long the distributor estimates the delivery process will take.

Working with Food Distributors

Food distributors help foodservice operators expand their business and boost their productivity.

They help by focusing on what they’re good at, which is selling to customers right away. So, find the right partner, and you’ll succeed.

Plus, efficient transport is essential to decreasing or preventing waste of time and materials, and money. Working with a reliable partner is better than losing profits for hiring an ”easier” but low-quality service.

It’s worth working with a specialty distributor if you sell the kind of product that requires the right conditions. Think about whether you need refrigerated fleets or special refrigerated containers as well, as you’ll have to be sure to adhere to specific food safety standards as well.

If you’re interested in taking your business to the next level, and expanding your operations, reach out to us now!

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