Wholesale Grocers

Will Grocers Use Third Party Logistics for Outsourcing their Transportation Needs in Future?

Will Grocers Use Third Party Logistics for Outsourcing their Transportation Needs in Future?


Transportation costs are a major reason for growth in price level of products from manufacturers to retail stores. While large nationwide stores like Walmart, Costco, Safeway, Seven Eleven and many more have their own transportation, distribution and warehousing facilities, small stores rely on local distributors for their merchandise. Food products required by grocery stores are also in great demand by restaurants, hospitals, schools and other finished food retailers. In the midst of food distribution the parties involved have to also be careful about selling their finished products within a certain period of time as they are perishable and cannot be stored for long.

To reduce distribution costs grocers and convenience stores have varying strategies for both warehousing and transportation to retain competitiveness. To keep a cap on transportation requirements grocery wholesale distributors are using both third party carriers and their own private fleet for distribution of merchandise to their list of retailers. This hybrid transportation methodology helps both transporters to improve their distribution techniques and minimize wastage. Increasingly even food hubs close to large farms which work as cooperatives to collect and distribute food from local farmers use their own distribution trucks for local areas and sometimes transportation facilities of convenience store brokers to send it to distant markets.


Why third party logistics are profitable for grocery chains and convenience stores chains


  • A growing number of large transportation truck drivers are retiring or moving on to more lucrative job opportunities. New generation is not keen about taking long distance driving as a profession due to the hazards involved and easy availability of job opportunities. This is forcing stores to offload their low-profitable areas to third party distributors which are working for other stores in the area.


  • Flexibility that third party trucking companies provide in food distribution is invaluable especially during harvest time and peak holiday season when grocer has to use their own trucks for large number of pickups from farms to manage local demand. Similarly when demand is low then grocer can reduce number of third party deliveries and also maintain customer demand without wastage.


  • Retailer chains which have operations on a national level will be unable to maintain their deliveries on their own at all seasons and often use third party carriers to reduce cost of transportation from manufacturer to store to provide competitive prices to their customers.


  • The use of third party logistics also helps reduce potential risk of labor conflict and total shutdown as with potential threat of these logistics providers the laborers are also worried about losing their contracts.


  • With lesser trucks and merchandise to manage the grocery retailer is also safe from increased capital outlay and expenditure.       Though it can make them vulnerable to same delivery issues which the third party distributor is exposed to the amount saved from assets purchased can be used to expand store outlay and make it more appealing.


Though convenience stores and grocery store chains understand that using external transportation facilities may add to the overall cost of merchandise, the benefits accruing from this system far outweigh the expense as they can achieve better productivity from hybrid transportation system. The recent increase in labor costs followed by transportation costs due to high rates of fuel has reduced the grocers’ margin forcing them to relook at the supply chain network to reduce operational costs for having profits. To keep their business profitable retailers have to measure the costs of distributing their products by themselves or through third party logistics providers.


Types of third party transportation management providers to retailers – Depending on the type of product there are several types of transportation management providers that specialize in food distribution like wholesale food suppliers and those that deliver apparel, shoes, cosmetics, accessories, cleaning products, tobacco and several others. These distributors are small and large which distribute goods either within the state or on national level on the basis of their expertise and profitability. While some third party distributors focus on small parcel shipments which are carried over large distances through their network of trucks and warehouses large bulk carriers transport goods by rail or ships which are then loaded on trucks and moved to retailers and grocery store distributors.


Manufacturer distributors – In this setup the manufacturer or point to point wholesale distributor take the responsibility of distributing the finished product directly from production point to convenience store chain or grocer. This type of delivery is possible when the whole truckload is bought by the retailer store which saves the transportation cost of moving from one retailer to other making deliveries.


Central distribution center to retail stores – Instead of having their own transportation service to supply finished products to retailers, manufacturers have a finished goods warehouse or distribution center. This is then moved to other locations by wholesale grocery distributors and convenience store brokers through their own transportation facilities by breaking them into smaller individual orders for distribution to retailers.


National distribution channels- These are centers where small manufactures and producers bring their individual finished products which are packed and ready for delivery. These distribution centers are sometimes run by food distributors, wholesalers, manufacturers’ cooperatives, and also by retailer groups to have a uniform delivery system. These products are then distributed to retailers which are a part of this association in small quantities for sale in vehicles which are generally owned by the distribution agency itself.


Grocers know that minimizing logistics and transportation costs can help maintain operational costs. As distributors add their own markup to products handled and delivered by them it can affect overall price a retailer charges from end customers. If a large wholesale retailer can take delivery of products from manufacturers’ factory or distribution center then they can provide lower price depending on transportation costs. In the use of third party logistics retailers have to look for multi-client distribution services which travel nationwide to distribute food and other convenience products to large and small retailers in a profitable manner. Like manufacturers, retailers also set up cooperatives to setup their own distribution network or engage third party distributors to complement their operations.

Food service distributors

Different Types of Food Distributors in the Retail Industry

Different Types of Food Distributors in the Retail Industry


Today convenience stores have grown beyond regular gas, cigarettes and beer stores to full-fledged multi-utility stores selling food products and a host of convenience items. Though both convenience stores and grocery stores have different business formats, both depend on middlemen like convenience store distributors and grocery wholesale distributors to carry out their business and replenish stocks. These distributors are specialized in carrying a wide assortment of products and are a vital link between manufacturers and retailers.


While they provide nationwide markets to manufacturers they also help retailers to find high demand products which will bring in more customers and will also provide high margins on sales.


The processing and distribution of food products is a specialized activity and requires inputs by specialists at various levels to make it fruitful to the producers. There are different levels within the food distribution chain like beverage distributors, wholesale food suppliers, wholesale grain distributors, vegetables and fruits distributors, dairy and meat products distributors. While large retailers like Wal-Mart, Safeway, Albertsons and others have their own distribution centers where manufacturers deliver their products, wholesale clubs like Sam’s and Costco pick up directly from wholesalers and manufacturers as it suits them.


The food distribution sector links food supply between producers, retailers and consumers. This complex sector includes supermarkets, food wholesale suppliers, grocery distributors, fruit and vegetable processing units, restaurant chains, ready to eat food manufacturers and distributors and food brokers. The food distribution industry comprises of several thousand food service establishments with sales of several billion every year which also provides employment to skilled and unskilled personnel in retail and distribution. A large part of food products are distributed through traditional food distributors channels to small and large convenience store chains, independent stores and grocers along with regular supplies to small and large restaurant chains.

Middlemen in food distribution channel


Food distributors – They purchase processed and packaged products directly from manufacturers and also from wholesale grocery distributors and either sell or distribute it to retailers like convenience stores and grocers or to food service companies and other distributors. Food distribution by this group is limited to a middleman’s role of picking up from one person and giving it to another direct seller or reseller.


Food brokers – These middlemen act as manufacturers’ representatives and facilitate relationship between retailers and manufacturers. Their main function is to help retailers find new products which will enhance their product line and assist manufacturers in finding suitable outlets to sell their products at a profit. As they do not take physical possession of the food products they do not have any ownership over their distribution and supply.


Grocery wholesale distributorsThis group of middlemen are quite similar to distributors of other convenience products but as they do not interact with retailers they are not entitled to carry out stocking activities or provide advice on setting up retail shelves.


Food service distributors – (www.wholesalegrocersdirectory.com) These are specialized middlemen with detailed knowledge about markets and demand patterns which enables them to manage supply efficiently. They focus their expertise on servicing customers which are into food service like fast food restaurants, regular and boutique restaurants, ready to eat food manufacturers and service canteens in hospital and schools.


Food distribution pathway has several small diversions which help in fine-tuning the product and making it ideal for consumption by the customer. Different distribution paths are adopted by food distributors to get the products to retailers which are dependent on product type, market need, type of retailer and selling skills of manufacturer. While some prefer selling their limited products like fruits, vegetables, dairy products and other farm products in local farmers’ markets and also to brokers, few manufacturers fail to sell their products as they are unable to effectively promote them in the markets. Generally perishable foods like seafood, meats, dairy products along with fruits and vegetables have few middlemen between producer and retailer as compared to processed food products like jams, fruit juice, cheese, and other groceries.


Direct store distributors – Distributors which act as conduit between wholesalers and retailers like convenience stores and grocery stores are called as direct distributors as they have a special relationship with retailers and provide them advice about store layout and product positioning on shelves. These grocery distributors are middlemen who specialize in selling only grocery items and these grocery store distributors generally work with manufacturers or wholesalers to maintain quality of their products as ordered by retailers.


Grocery wholesale distributor – They have direct business relationship with several manufacturers as a whole as they buy goods in large bulk quantities which improve their buying power in the market. They have large warehouses where the goods are broken up into smaller pallets for distribution through brokers and agents and distributors. Wholesale distributors give discounts to distributors or retailers who buy large number of items from them and take the responsibility of picking up the goods from warehouses directly as this saves on distribution costs.


Online food distributorsWith the boom in online sales of ready to eat food products through fast foods outlets and restaurants, even grocery chains and convenience stores are slowly exploring this purchase and sales option. Wholesale food distributors are increasing their online presence to help retailers and brokers to make their bulk purchases online so that their orders are replenished if their delivery trucks are in that neighborhood. Packaged food items can be sold on wholesale like soups, snacks, cookies, canned products, spices, seasonings, baby food, tea, dry groceries and pet food. Through purchase from online food distributors retailers are assured of low prices and are saved from waiting for regular distributor to make their deliveries.


In undeveloped markets food distribution is still carried out through traditional channels of multiple middlemen which lead to wastage and products being marked up at a high level when consumers buy them. These countries also lack proper transportation, storage, warehousing and processing facilities which lead to high inventories at the manufacturer level. The maturity in European, US markets has encouraged global retailers and distributors of food products to focus their attention on undeveloped markets in Asia, Australia and Russian Federation.


Emerging Trends in Wholesale Distribution

Emerging Trends in Wholesale Distribution


In the supply chain network of distribution from manufacturer to retailers, wholesalers play a major role and occupy the middle position between manufacturers and convenience store brokers or retailers. This group was never emotionally attached to the products which it was distributing to retailers or distributors as its services were limited to caretaker duties. With growing trend of large format retailer stores with nationwide chains which are setting up their own warehousing and distribution networks it is increasingly becoming a challenge for wholesalers to retain their importance in the distribution chain.


With growing number of convenience stores turning into food and beverage distribution outlets the supply chain networks are becoming more complex to maintain this demand. While customers are seeking better products at lower prices, manufacturers’ cooperatives and farmers are demanding better prices for their products which are squeezing the wholesale distributor from both sides.


The wholesale distribution sector has annual sales figure of $5 trillion which has fallen by a trillion since 2011 and is expected to grow at a compounded rate of 6 percent in forthcoming years. During next five years the revenue of distributors will grow by 50 percent while retailers will grow by 40 percent as the national economy has grown by 30 percent irrespective of the tough economic conditions. Though a few key industries like tourism and automobile have slowed down due to increase in gas prices the retail industry has remained steady.


Challenges in today’s competitive markets for wholesalers


Manufactures are seeking profitable ways to get their products into c-stores and want to keep distributors to the minimum. In this endeavor they are taking the help of grocery wholesale distributors and other convenience store distributors which move the goods directly to the retailers. Customers are also demanding more customized delivery systems to have better products which reach them at home at a competitive price. Global competition from low cost products is making it difficult for retailers to store local made products at low prices if the cost of distribution is high.


How to get products into c stores in time


The biggest challenge before manufacturers and distributors is to get their products into their preferred stores in time before customers are given a better alternative at a lower price. Wholesalers play an important part in this exercise by being able to identify the right storage facilities and finding the right distributors for their products. To combat this issue there are convenience store brokers associations and distributor groups who take the responsibility of marketing and distribution of products from manufacturers to retailers. They get the latest products and display them before consumers at convenience stores and grocery stores directly which are a part of their member distribution chain and then maintain regular supply depending on demand.



Technological challenges


Managing inventory and storage along with regular replenishing of stocks and being able to have updated information about stocks available in the warehouse is a challenge most wholesale face in their business. While this can now be managed with information technology the wholesaler has to identify the right solution which will be appropriate for his current and future needs. The right software solution should be able to manage customer orders, track inventory and generate shipping assignments for trucks that move out to distributors. Wholesalers also have to invest in software for automating standard tasks like making packing lists for pallets moving out of the warehousing along with drawing up invoices and comparing them with customer order lists to avoid mistakes.


Challenge from large retailers


Now that fuel prices have stabilized distributors are safe from one challenge to now face large retailers like Walmart, Safeway, Costco and others who are bypassing them to directly take delivery of products from manufactures. They have set up centralized collection centers wherein manufacturers supply their truckloads of produce which is repacked and distributed to the retailers’ stores which are spread across the nation. The distribution of these products from collection centers can be done either by these retailers themselves or through third party distributors.


Challenges of export/import


The wholesalers take responsibility for export of goods across Japan, Canada, Mexico, China and locations across Europe which has suffered due to economic upheavals and natural disasters. The long trucking dispute between US/Mexico also led to loss of several million as traffic from both sides of the border came to a standstill during this period.


Emerging trends in wholesale distribution


In spite of these challenges the wholesale distribution sector has been able to manage industry requirements and adapted itself to requirements of business and industry. While technologically wholesale distributors are able to improve their efficiency external challenges are forcing them to adopt new trends to improve bottom-line and manage growth.


Distribution channels driven by demand


This refers to distribution which is driven by demand as goods move down quickly through the supply chain due to ready demand. In today’s customer driven markets the manufacturers do not push goods towards buyers and retailers manage their inventories based on consumer demand. This helps in allocation of products across a widespread geographical area as manufactures and wholesalers are now aware of pockets which have demand for their products. Channel partners comprising of wholesalers, distributors, brokers and retailers share data about consumer demand which helps maintain inventory supplies.


Direct interaction with customers


With the assistance of internet, wholesale distributors are able to improve their business activities as they are able to directly connect with retailers and customers. The innovative wholesalers are managing supply chains by using internet to interact with buyers to understand changing trends and using collaborative tools like virtual trade-shows. Online business environment requires wholesalers to use their website as promotional tool for lead generation and sharing information.

Now warehouse management systems are sophisticated tools which constantly help top wholesalers to stay ahead of competitors through effective strategy. The national association of wholesale distributors works with more than 100 wholesalers to access and analyze business information which can help managers to make business decisions which will meet unique challenges and provide long term solution.

wholesale distribution

Wholesale Distribution Tips for Your Business

Wholesale Distribution Tips for Your Business


Are you an enterprising distributor who would like to expand business and distribution chain across state and national borders? You can do that in phased manner by detailed study of successful business models which have been used by wholesale distributors in the past to expand their business. The wholesale distribution business is based on volumes and your ability to negotiate prices from both manufacturers and retailers. The first step you would need to take before starting a wholesale distribution business is to decide the area you would like to service and the volumes you can distribute.


There are varied types of wholesalers who serve their customers like c-store chains, grocery store chains and also standalone stores on a local, regional and national level from strategically located warehouses. Depending on your business experience and financial background you can either be a small volume or large volume distributor and can grow gradually. Though the internet is an obvious choice for most research oriented subjects it can only help you in a limited scope where wholesale business in concerned and you will learn more about tricks of the trade from others in the trade. Carry out detailed research about which products sell the fastest and ask for products in demand which will give you a fair idea.


Tips for ensuring success of wholesale distribution business


Strong product portfolio – Carry out a detailed research about which products and services will give highest returns and also study the hassles of managing them. Durable products like cigarettes, lighters, personal hygiene and beauty care products, air fresheners, bathroom cleaners, batteries and paper products are the best items to start when starting a wholesale distribution business. These products do not require special storage facilities and are used frequently therefore will always be in demand.


Identifying reliable suppliers – The success of any wholesale distributor’s is dependent on his suppliers who are its pillars and supply the lifeblood of products which can be distributed to c-store chains, grocery chains, wholesalers and dealers. There are several distributors and big stores dealers who can provide the manufacturers higher profits as they directly sell it customers but their geographical area is limited. When you are discussing contracts with manufacturers confirm the exact quantity that they can supply to you on a monthly or quarterly basis. Besides quantity you also have to work out price levels that manufacturers will charge, if price levels fluctuate on a regular basis then it will affect your margins and it is advisable to avoid business with these suppliers.


Merchandise variety – Try to have a varied portfolio of products which are generally required by stand- alone convenience stores in remote locations. The larger your merchandise list you will have a better chance at being single distributor to small grocery stores and merchants in your area. Both large chains and small stores prefer buying their merchandise from few wholesale distributors and suppliers instead of working with several to have better credit lines and control over product quality and supply.


Introduction of new products – As a distributor you must always be on the lookout for new and exciting products that can enhance your portfolio and bring new customers. Your ability to identify interesting items whether they are perishable or nonperishable will make your supply trucks a welcome visitor to all your convenience store clients. Keep an eye on the competition for information about new products and their market demand. If you can find valuable products which can create profitable footprints on the checkout counter then it will help improve your profits and also of your customers.


Develop relationships in business – Every business enterprise thrives on building relationships whether it is between distributor and his clients or between c store owner and his customers. Your behavior as a distributor of essential supplies to every c-store manager or a grocery store owner should be centered on building longtime relationship of cordiality and mutual benefit. If you spend time with your clients every time during delivery to discuss business and local gossip and also help them to decide about display sections or other issues it will show that you actually care about their business. A similar strategy can be adopted with your manufacturer/suppliers and they will keep you updated about new products in the pipeline and also provide products at a better price.


Importance of location – Even if you have started your wholesale business on a small scale by making deliveries to local stores do not limit your resources to a small group of buyers and keep expanding your clientele to include as many stores as possible in the shortest possible time. Wholesale distributors generally start their business by servicing 150-200 locations on a fortnightly basis and over a period of time they shorten it down to 75 – 100 stores which provide them steady business and profits. Even after you reach a comfortable business turnover level do not rest on your laurels but keep exploring for products and clientele across state boundaries as nothing in this world is forever.


Enjoy business with profitable agreements – After identification of suppliers and retailers have valid agreement with them about concerns like return policies, large volume discounts, pricing terms, delivery schedules and time lags for every order. This will ensure that your profits remain secure for a particular period of time until the contract gets renewed gain. Keep learning from your experiences and you will never lose in this business. Keep meeting traders, manufacturers and actively participate in trade association meetings which will give you updates about changing market trends. Unless you like the business you are in it will not earn you required profits and your products will soon lose their “X” factor.


This business requires constant change and to stay ahead of the pack and distinguish your brand from the regular distributors and dealers you have to be smart and innovative. Maintain a visible profile at all trade shows and wholesale distributor association meetings. Keep expanding your network of suppliers and customers which will give you better profits and negotiating power. On a regular basis evaluate your suppliers and customer to root out the unprofitable or unreliable ones and concentrate on the profitable ones.

Marketing Wholesale Business

Marketing for a Wholesale Grocery Business

Marketing for a Wholesale Grocery Business


Marketing is necessary for any business. The methods vary depending on the nature of the business but all businesses need it irrespective of their size and the sector. Marketing for a wholesale grocery business is based on the dynamics of the sector as well as the type and nature of the individual businesses. Here are some tips for marketing a wholesale grocery business.


Define the marketing plan


Before making a marketing plan it is important to define and refine the strategy for the same. Whether you are formulating a plan for a new business or refining the marketing strategy of an existing business, making a checklist of the areas to focus can help a great deal. This narrow focus on important points is the key to a successful marketing plan and a successful business.


  • Define your business. Define the products your sell. Do you deal in only food items or other household products as well? What type of food you sell or intend to sell? Even if your answer is as simple as ‘bread’ – write it down as it helps to narrow the focus. Then identify what type of bread you wish to sell. There is a huge variety of breads in the market these days – from plain bread to wholegrain variety to gluten-free and many types of gourmet breads. Each type of bread will need a different marketing plan as the target audience is different for different breads.


  • Also see if your products are different from what is currently available in the market. Will you be selling what is already selling in the market and be a part of the existing competition? Or will you source your product from a new vendor who has also just entered into the market? Buying from new manufacturers or vendors can give you an edge as you might have products to sell that are not in the market yet. Or you might wish to try for a product range that is a mix of existing and new types of products. Your bread products can include the usual varieties that regularly sell in the market and include breads that introduce new flavors in the market.


  • This brings us to the point regarding target audience. Identify the end-users of your products as this will help you reach the right convenience stores for your business. The demographics of a location and the type of convenience store are the two factors to consider here.


  • Now think how the above points help you with refine your marketing plan even more. The market competition in your chosen product category helps here to determine how aggressive your marketing needs to be. Also to consider are things like how you want to position your business. In other words do you want to become a market leader in your product category? Or do you want to launch new products? For instance, do you want to introduce new types of gourmet breads in the convenience stores or you are happy to sell the breads that are already selling in the market?


  • Also consider the size of the market. How many convenience stores you want to cover at the start? What market size is already covered by your competitors? Do you want to reach out to newer markets or stick to existing stores already served by your competition? To continue with our example of breads here – do you wish to only sell to few convenience stores or do you wish to sell a few varieties of breads including gourmet breads and enter new markets like restaurants and high-end stores.


Formulate the marketing plan


Now comes the part of devising a plan based on the above factors. Once you know your products and how you can position your business given the current situation in the market or the competition existing in the market, you can make your marketing plan that will take into account all the factors that influence or might influence your wholesale grocery business.


  • First thing to do here is to think over the pricing of your products. Do you wish to price your bread lower than your competitors’ pricing or keep the price a tad lower so as to beat the competition? Or on the other hand, are you so confident of your products that you decide to price them above the existing competition? Or on a neutral front, you price the products just as your completion in the market.


  • Think beforehand how you plan to tackle price fluctuations in the market. These fluctuations are a normal part of any business. Rise or fall in price of a single ingredient can affect the cost of the final product. Say for instance, you buy multigrain bread from a vendor at a certain price, but the price of sorghum flour rises due to some reason.

So if your multi-grain bread has sorghum flour as one of your ingredients then this will affect the cost of the multi-grain bread. Now here you will need to decide whether you are in a position to charge more from the retail stores or you will need to bear the cost yourself? A new business or a business in a very competitive market needs to regularly take such decisions. Having a contingency plan in mind beforehand to handle price fluctuations can help a great deal when suddenly you are faced with such a situation.


  • How do you plan to reach your target market? If this is a new business for you then how do you plan to reach out to convenience stores and have you decided on the stores? Have you made flyers to distribute that list your product range and the unique qualities of your products? Do you think you will need a website to promote your business? Do you have the funds in your marketing budget for a website? How you present your business and make the first contact with your clients are important factors in any marketing plan.





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.

grocery store distributors

Grocery Store Distributors AKA Wholesale Grocers

Grocery Store Distributors AKA Wholesale Grocers



Grocery store distributors are the link between manufacturers and retailers. These distributors or wholesale grocers help reach thousands of products into various stores and hence to the consumers.


Grocery store distributors are solely in the business of distribution of products from the manufacturers or vendors to the retailers. These retailers can be independent stores or high-end supermarkets. Some manufacturers undertake the task of reaching out to the stores directly while others do so at least at the start of their business. This might save time or money or both in the initial days of a new business. But as the business grows vendors need to reach more retail stores in the most cost-effective way and also with the most ease. Therefore there are several advantages of working with a grocery store distributor AKA wholesale grocers.


Grocery store distributors offer several benefits to manufacturers or vendors


Working with wholesale grocers is cost-effective business decision for the manufacturers. Grocery store distributors provide manufacturers with an option of distributing their products in ways that will save them money. Catering to the supply needs of an independent store is a big task. More so if the store is a high-end supermarket dealing with thousands of products. The distributors can make this task easier for the vendors by taking care of the distribution of the products and managing supplies to the stores.


Supplying to the stores needs a different infrastructure. The transport alone can cost a lot of money as the vehicles need to be purchased or leased. Then there is the fuel cost. Wholesale grocers have the infrastructure in place to distribute food and other groceries in an efficient manner. Bringing this infrastructure in place can be a time-consuming as well as expensive endeavor for most manufacturers or vendors.


Working with distributors saves time. Grocery store distributors have their logistics in place for the business. There is an inventory to take care of and deal with ongoing demands of hundreds of stores. There are discounts and offers to handle and manage. There is task of invoicing and collection and establishing the terms of the credits. Wholesale grocers have to maintain storage for their stock and take care of products that reach them through shipping or as air cargo. There is a ton of stuff to handle in the distribution business. Grocery store distributors take care of all these tasks that are necessary in the business. Establishing and maintaining such logistics takes time and requires long-term efforts.


Working with wholesale distributors offer vendors the advantage of their huge network. Grocery store distributors work through a large network of vendors and retailers. This is built through years of business. They know and understand the requirements of their clients and can serve them better by providing them with the best of supplies. This works out for the benefit of all parties involved in the business.


Working with wholesale distributors gives the vendors the advantage of marketing. It is through distributors that promotional banners and flyers reach retail stores. When these are placed in the store for the benefits of consumers; stores can get advance orders for the same. This can give an idea about the response to the new product to the manufacturers or vendors and they can work on arranging the requisite numbers to supply to the retailers.


Working with wholesale store distributors help manufacturers reach newer markets. Wholesale grocers have solid business relationships with retail stores of all types. They know what product will fare better in what location. A store with predominant population of a particular community will do better with products catering to that community. It is also in the interest of the distributors to reach as many stores as possible.


Only distributors can continually look for newer markets, which not only helps them but also the manufacturers. Working with wholesale store distributors can reduce the workload of the vendors. It is the distributors who take care of returns and credits of the retail stores. This helps manufacturers and vendors considerably as these processes need time.


Grocery store distributors offer several benefits to retailers


Grocery store distributors work with each retail client to supply them with the best of products from the best of vendors. Not all distributors supply all the products. Some distributors might be in the business of supplying only poultry products to retail stores or they might deal in only vegetables. When a distributor dealing with only meat products is aware that a retailer might need a huge supply of chicken in a particular month, the distributors can make the quantity available to that retail client.


Grocery store distributors bring offers and discounts to retailer. These discounts or promotional offers come directly from the manufacturers and these help the retailers sell more products to the consumers. Every new product comes with a promotional discount or offer. Then there are seasonal and special holiday offers. Some manufacturers work on special products that are only available through the holiday season. These can reach a retail store only through a distributor who can notify the stores well in advance and retail stores can manage their orders for the same accordingly.


Grocery store distributors also do the job of providing feedback from the retailers to the vendors or manufacturers about the products. If customers are not satisfied with a product or a store is handling many returns then the same can be conveyed to the manufacturer. This helps the retailers as the manufacturer might replace the product or reduce the cost of a defective product.


Grocery store distributors ease the supply worries of the retail stores by making sure manufacturers are supplying all necessary products in time and in the right quantity.

Grocery store distributors help retail businesses by introducing new products in their stores. The better the business terms between a distributor and a retailer, the better deals for the latter. The manufacturers might give promotional placements products for a few retail store only. It becomes the prerogative of the distributors to decide which store gets the free promotional products.

How to find wholesale grocers

How to Find Wholesale Grocers

How to Find Wholesale Grocers

How to find Wholesale Grocers on the internet may be difficult, so I would visit www.wholesalegrocersdirectory.com. We provide a list of over 2,000 wholesale grocers and over 2,500 food service distributors.


The following issues have to be kept in mind while looking for a wholesale grocers for your product


  1. Portfolio of wholesale grocers – There are different types of wholesaler grocers who supply products to Grocery store and Supermarket chains and also grocers which consist of only food products. Some wholesale grocers have their own vendors supplying food products which are sold to grocers and c store distributors under their own brands. If the wholesale grocer has too many products which can be your competitors then avoid them.


  1. Outreach of wholesaler – If you are planning to have a nationwide launch for your products then a wholesaler with reach into regional or statewide markets will not be effective. You need to carry out extensive research about a wholesaler’s distribution network and the time he will take to distribute your products across grocery stores. As your products have to be available on shoppers’ shelves after a marketing campaign it is essential that your distribution cycle is effective too.


  1. Experience of wholesaler – While making a sales pitch to these wholesale grocers make an attempt to find out if they have sold products similar to yours in the past and what has been their experience. This will give you a fair idea if they will be able to distribute your product effectively or if they will be able to identify potential markets.


  1. Does your wholesale grocer supply to both c store chains and grocers – Decide whether you want your product stocked at a convenience store or a grocers chain stores. Remember a convenience store is not always the best place for your food products but in a remote location it is the likeliest place customers will drive in for their daily requirements.


Before you find wholesale grocers for your product you need to perform necessary steps as a form of groundwork for your products which will help sales once they land on grocers’ shelves.

  1. Collecting necessary permits and insurance – To make your product suitable for sale in grocery stores you need to have necessary permissions and certificates from state’s health department to show that your product is fit for consumption. Insurance to protect yourself from perceived injury that a customer might face from your product.


  1. Packaging and labeling – An attractive package with information about quantity of ingredients, product manufacturing and expiry dates and details of nutritional value of each product will be required to make your product suitable for display. Though suitable ready made containers can be purchased from suppliers, their designing and labeling has to be done in a professional manner to give your product a unique look and feel.
  2. Participate in trade shows and network – Participate aggressively in farm markets and trade shows in your area to spread word about your products. Network with wholesale grocers at trade meetings and shows to showcase your products and the value it can add to their product portfolio. Share samples and contact information with them along with attractive discounts you can offer for bulk purchases.


  1. Prepare a suitable media campaign to back your product launch – Just distribution of your product will not sell it, you have to convince buyers of benefits form your products. Make a convincing media campaign which can be shown via television commercials or online advertisement campaigns through social media. Have an interesting website with videos or audio clips about how to use your product and its benefits.


  1. Can you meet growing demands of business – While setting up a advertisement campaign or ironing out your distribution channels check if you have the capacity to scale up if demand for your product increases. Keep contingency plan and resources in place which can be helpful if you are given a big order which can make or break your business.


Are you going to use full service or limited service wholesale grocers – As the name states, full service wholesalers provide a host of services to their vendors which include assistance in stocking, pricing and display across grocery stores they service. Limited service wholesalers generally service local stand alone stores and convenience stores chains and have limited storage and distribution facilities.


Zeroing on the right wholesale grocer to sell your product – The packaged food industry within United States is extremely competitive with sub categories of every product which makes it confusing for buyers to remain with a particular brand for a long time. While some producers want to remain limited to their local markets and loyal customers, others want to make a splash in national markets. Every grocer has to make a detailed study of market and reach of wholesale grocers before zeroing in on the right one who can meet their existing distribution needs and future growth requirements.

Make a marketing plan and distribution strategy when you are going to meet a potential wholesale grocer who can be your partner in profits. Unless you convince him about utility or unique sales point about your product he cannot convince grocers to stock your products. A strong channel partner with a powerful list of convenience chain stores in its client list can help take your products to right customer base. When you are using a wholesaler network for marketing your products remember to meet each and every grocer where your product is likely to be displayed to develop a sustainable promotional strategy.

The only way you can find a list of wholesale grocers is through the Wholesale Grocers Directory http://wholesalegroce.wpengine.com. Research and frequent meetings with their management and also with the store owners where they distribute their products. Choosing the right distribution channel can help sell a product and give it a competitive edge over others who may have similar ideas.