Food Wholesalers

Top 10 Food Distributor Associations – Wholesale Grocers

Top 10 Food Distributor Associations – Wholesale Grocers


A large percentage of wholesale distributors and dealers who supply and distribute products to convenience stores across the nation generally deal with a wide variety of convenience products besides food and beverages. Besides helping manufacturers get their products into grocers, convenience stores and markets they also work as partners for these retailers to get them new and innovative products which can help increase their clientele and profits. Before launching a food brand on a national level, manufacturers generally take the view of local markets and launch it on a small scale.


Once steady demand for a food product builds up, the manufacturer takes the next positive step forward to launch it nationally. This is a tedious exercise as the manufacturer would now have to search for an ideal distributor/dealer/agent/broker who can market the product in a profitable manner through a series of presentations and discussions about profit sharing, marketing and promotions. Instead of meeting each retailer or wholesaler to sell your product the best alternative is to make a presentation before their association members and let them gauge if your product is the next rising star on the horizon among food products.


Just as retailers and wholesalers in different locations around the nation have formed formal associations to protect their interest and manage common problems, distributors and agents also have their traders groups. While some specialist food product groups work only with food and beverages in different parts of the nation, general convenience store wholesalers distribute several products to few convenience store chains and the profits earned are sufficient for them to expand beyond a certain limit. These associations work as non-profit self- help groups and assisting wholesaler-distributors to streamline operations by having an efficient distribution channel which enables benchmarking products and networking to sell products through strategic partnerships.


American Wholesale Marketers Association


This is an international organization of traders working with convenience store distributors within United States and has an annual turnover of $85 billion. Its members include people from product, distribution and retail sector who are integral to convenience store business. Convenience store owners, distributors and manufacturers come here to understand regulations related to production, distribution and storage of all categories of convenience items ranging from candy, tobacco, snacks, beauty products and general merchandise.


National Association of Wholesale Distributors


Regarded as the largest associate body of wholesale distributors in the nation it is also a powerful influencing agency of government regulations related to wholesale supply business. Besides ensuring smooth transition of new regulations related to staff healthcare, product quality and business development. The association was setup in 1960’s to protect rights of manufacturers and distributors in the food services industry. It works with new manufactures to launch their products among retailers by bringing them together with member’s wholesaler suppliers who can carry forward their goods to right retailers and target customers.

Northeast Wholesale Food Distributors Association


This dynamic group is concentrating on fulfilling requirements of citizens in the North East region and works with distributors, wholesalers, manufacturers, retails and brokers in the food distribution industry. Regarded as one of the oldest food traders association as it was established in 1875 its main purpose is to remove bottlenecks in food distribution support new products.


National Grocers’ Association


This national level trade association represents both retailers and wholesale grocers’ which are not part of a large chain of stores. Though a few of these firms are traded a majority of them are still owned by families which carry out both management and distribution work by themselves. The members of this association operate varied sizes of stores and are an important part of the community where they carry out their business due to their long term association with people in the area. The independent grocers group last year generated nearly $130 billion in sales last year.


National Poultry and Food Distributors Association


The association was built in 1967 to bring together distributors and processors’ in dairy and poultry industry by setting up a forum. If your product is in this category get in touch with them as the association always works towards fostering long term relationships. For the past 40 odd years the association has worked distributors and retailers to improve supply logistics of food products and ensure that they reach consumers in time. Manufacturers use the association’s convenience store directory and database to make meaningful contacts with retailers and offer discounts to improve profit margins.


International Food service Distributors Association


The group evolved with food service distribution and restaurant industry and has been growing since 1980 by providing mass market food products to reduce hunger in the nation. The association consists mainly of family owned businesses and the modern distribution operations of food products use temperature protected zones for preservation of these products during storage. Manufacturers bring in their produce every morning which is then divided up according to location and sent for delivery early next morning. The association has nearly 15000 members which either own warehouses or transportation fleets serving between 1000 – 6000 convenience stores from one warehouse.


Food Processing Suppliers Association

This traders association was created in 2005 to merge the powers of Food processing machinery groups and Association of Food Industry suppliers. It was made to help each member find their niche in food processing and distribution industry and compete on an equal level with others. All the members of the association are in the field of food processing, dairy goods supply, meat and beverages.



Food Ingredient Distributors Association


Established to bring professionalism and steady growth into food ingredient industry it has formulated standards for storage and distribution of food ingredients. Besides enabling spread of new ideas and distribution channels across the supply chain, the association also protect members’ business interests wherever required.


American Commodity Distribution Association


Committed to improving USDA’s mission of ensuring food for all the association works as a communication link between members of agriculture sector and government and retail sector. It works as the collective voice of all stakeholders in food processing along with food delivery and distribution industry to speak about decisions which will have a long-term impact on food distribution. The goals of this association include better undertaking of issues that plague the food processing industry.

Wholesale Grocers Directory

Wholesale Grocers and Independent Convenience Stores

Wholesale Grocers and Independent Convenience Stores – The Present and the Future


Wholesale grocery business has seen many fluctuations in the market but is still going strong. Industry experts and analysts study the markets and release new trends based on the current scenarios that govern the wholesale grocery business and the convenience stores. The wholesale grocery business has changed a lot for sure. But is it here to stay? What about independent stores? Will they survive?


The past


There is no doubt that the wholesale grocery business is one of the most competitive businesses. But this is also true that this business has been around for centuries and still existing. The wholesale grocery business has continuously reinvented itself given the opportunities in the market as well as the changing trends in the market.


Gone are the days of goods arriving through ships and merchants haggling at the ports and the goods then being transported through carts. The merchant trade began this way – goods reaching one continent to another – creating a unique marketplace. But the 20th century changed all of this.


The changes in the wholesale grocery business that happened during and after the World War II established many grocers and establish big business conglomerates. The innovations that happened during those years helped to streamline the wholesale grocery business in a big way. New ways to cut costs, new types of warehouses, new product categories, creating the capacity to sell these new products and reaching out to convenience stores in new ways.

The changing face of the wholesale trade also affected the establishment of convenience stores. From independent stores in the neighborhood corners to high-end retail stores – all this happened as the wholesale grocery business changed over the years.


The present scenario


The wholesale grocery business saw a new trend in the late 20th century — the rise of the mass merchants. This affected the wholesale grocery business in a big way. Were the profit margins of the wholesale distributors affected as a result? Yes. Was the wholesale grocery business this changed forever? Yes again.


Distributors playing the role of wholesalers and reaching out to retail stores trough their own network of distribution was another huge change that the business of wholesale grocery has seen. Big establishments with their big budgets could establish their own distribution channels, which otherwise takes time and patience and of course money.


Big merchants can work out larger discounts and pass the same to the consumers. This is what their business model is based on – huge variety of products along with even bigger discounts to the end-users. Aisle upon aisles of products in every category coupled with huge discounts no doubt attracts customers but has this consumed the business of wholesale grocers and independent convenience stores. The answer is simple – no.


The 21st century is the age of the Internet. With the new technological advances made into this field emerged the online retail stores. Some big players emerged and countless small businesses opened and either shut shop or thrived – just as it happens for brick and mortar stores. But then who serves these online retail stores? Similar to large businesses that handle their own distribution and source their products from various places, these big retail stores also run on a similar model. But then there are countless medium to large establishments that rely on wholesale grocers to supply them the goods.


The Future


What the future for the wholesale grocery business holds and how it affects the independent retail stores?


With all the changes the wholesale grocery business has witnessed, one thing is sure – the business is here to stay. This business has survived the threats from big merchants and distributors. But with the changes in the wholesale business also came the transformations in the retail industry.


From small convenience stores serving the need of the entire neighborhood to high-end stores storing just about everything – the retail business has also grown by leaps and bounds. The convenience stores and big retail stores, both the models still need distributors to supply them with the products they sell. There is a need in the market for distributors catering to all sizes of businesses. Not only all sizes but all types of retail businesses.


The online retail stores also need distributors to purchase their stock. Be it food or groceries of all kinds – it is the wholesale grocers and their businesses that serve this market.

The wholesale grocery business is never going to cease to exist. The need of the hour is constant innovation. This business has survived threats from big traders and merchants. The wholesale grocers have faced the challenges from changes in the distribution business. But the truth is that this business is so big that all types and sizes of wholesale grocers can thrive in the competition provided they are willing to innovate to suit the changing need of the market.


A wholesale grocer who refuses to launch a website or doesn’t try to reach out to online retailers might miss out on big online business. If the wholesale grocery businesses during the war or in the 1990s didn’t transform their businesses or didn’t take advantage of the opportunities offered to them then they might have not become as big they could.


It is all about surviving the changing marketplace and embracing new technologies for innovations in the business. And this is also about relationships between wholesale grocers and the retail stores. This business relationship is an important factor that determines how the two fare and survive in a challenging market situation.


Constant changes that have happened with the independent store businesses have helped wholesale grocers a great deal. The more the independent stores thrive in this day and age of competitive and dynamic marketplace, the better it is for the wholesale grocery business.

Independent stores may be smaller in sizes but they also have low overheads. They have long-established relationships with their grocers and with timely innovations on the part of both grocers and the retailers; the future of this business is bright. The wholesale grocers as well as convenience stores are here to stay.



Product Distribution for Grocery Stores

How You Can Use Wholesale Grocers to Get Your Product into Grocery Stores

How You Can Use Wholesale Grocers to Get Your Product into Grocery Stores


In today’s scenario of large chain stores selling a wide range of items used in homes from grocery items to fruits, vegetables and household cleaning stuff, it is difficult for small grocery stores to sustain themselves. Under such circumstances, every manufacturer who wants to get his products into grocery stores has to work in partnership with wholesale grocery distributors or chain stores to sell his products to buyers. If you have a product which can be supplied to local C store chains then make a detailed list about similar products available in stores in your neighborhood and then decide how to market your products to make them different from competitors. To sell your products at leading grocery stores, you have to work with wholesale grocers who have a variety of products from different manufacturers in their portfolio.


Steps to get a wholesale grocer to sell your products to grocery stores


1) Product insurance – The first step before getting your products into a grocery store would be to purchase a product liability insurance which protects you from any danger or injury that may befall a customer using your product. Any wholesale grocer will inquire about insurance validity of your product before they agree to distribute your product/s to grocery chains.

2) Procurement of Uniform Product Code – To have a unique code for your product registering with the Uniform Code Council is essential. This will ensure that all your products have a bar code on labels which will help to track your sales and inventory in the supply chain.

3) USDA certification – To have your product graded and certified by USDA schedule an inspection of your production facilities. After your premises are certified for hygiene and safety have your product testing by their labs so it gets necessary grading making it safe to be sold through grocery stores.

4) Advertising your product – Create fliers and brochures for your products which can be inserted in local newspapers around the stores where your products will be stocked. Build a website for your products and carry out an effective online campaign with videos about product usage, advantages and how it can add value to users’ lives. Encourage wholesale buyers to purchase from your website with order forms and contact details so they can get in touch with you directly for their requirements.


In your brochures and website , remember to write down details of your products’ ingredients. Most shoppers read through ingredients and its nutritional qualities before trying out any new products and this information will make your products stand out from competitors. Try to include testimonials about your products as soon as you get some positive feedback about them as it can help convince new customers to try out your products.


Product demonstration – Meet the decision making authority of the wholesale grocer who can market your products and ask for time to demonstrate your product and build an effective value proposition. Leave samples and order forms with these decision makers as they can suggest which markets and stores would be best suited for your products. They can also make suggestions about how to present your products within a store to gain attention of customers.


Registering with trade organizations – To get your product recognized among small and large wholesalers you can register yourself as a vendor with trade organizations. National bodies like Natural Grocers Association, National Products Association or local traders associations in your area to network with wholesale grocers and sell your product. You can also showcase your products at sponsored trade shows of these associations and get orders from wholesalers and retailers directly.


Identifying your target customer – While pricing your product make sure that it meets the expectations of your customer base and is within their budget by comparing it with other similar products in the market. Price should also meet the profit margins of grocery store, wholesale grocer and along with providing you a decent margin after covering your manufacturing costs. Conduct your market research by selling your product at local farmers’ market and collect feedback by giving out forms for them to fill up during their next visit.


Identifying a wholesale grocer – Within the United States there are several wholesale grocers who sell daily use groceries under their own brand to chain of convenience stores and grocers who are their customers. Before approaching a wholesale grocer to sell your products into stores make sure they do not have any products remotely closer to yours as only then they can be convinced to push your product into small grocers. Get a vendor procurement form from wholesale grocer who can effectively sell your products and fill in details which will show that your company can meet their demands.


Follow up steps to make sure that your product is successful at the grocery stores – Now that you have found a suitable wholesale grocer to distribute your products and the distribution part is taken care of, you have to take steps to see that it reaches consumer homes too.


  • Make a personal visit to grocery stores where your products are being sold to gather first hand customer feedback. You can also work with the local grocer to give your products a better vantage point to catch customers’ interest.
  • Give product samples to the grocer too so they are convinced about your products and can promote them.
  • Be on the road for the first few months and meet individual grocers and customers on a regular basis to collect feedback and improve distribution channels to establish a market.


As a manufacturer you should remember that the wholesaler can help distribute your product to customers through grocery stores but cannot sell them for you. This last step has to be taken by the manufacturer to make sure that customers buy his product from existing options available. Effective product promotion and advertisement has to be carried out to improve sales and establish reputation in a competitive market. Build a strong marketing campaign highlighting the value proposition of your product and its properties without comparing it with existing products available in the market.