Who Are the Largest Wholesale Grocers?

Who Are the Largest Wholesale Grocers?


Wholesale grocers are in the business of bringing goods from the manufacturers and vendors to the stores. Wholesale grocers cater to different types of retail clients and they supply different types of manufactured goods to these stores.

Here are some of the largest wholesale grocers in the country.

C&S Wholesale Grocers

C&S Wholesale Grocers is one of the largest suppliers of groceries in the USA. It was also featured in the Forbes magazine under the category of large private companies in the USA.

They supply groceries to almost 4000 stores that are a mix of high-end stores to supermarkets to food retail stores at the military bases. C&S Wholesale Grocers handle distribution of about 100,000 products through their warehouse that are scattered all over the country.

It was founded by Abraham Siegel and Israel Cohen with a distribution business of only 1,200 products. Today C&S Wholesale Grocers is the largest company by revenue that is in the business of groceries. Back then, in 1918, when the company was founded, it employed only three people and served the grocery needs of the residents of Worchester.

During the World War II the founders seized the business opportunity of serving the food needs of military commissaries. In fact C&S Wholesale Grocers are known for seizing newer markets through opportunities that presented themselves or by creating their own. They are also the pioneer in establishing several methods of cutting costs and making the distribution system efficient. One such initiative was to use rollers in the warehouses to make movement of products easier. The company also utilized the supermarket boom during the war to make new clients.

In less than 20 years, the company became the leader in supplying groceries to supermarket chains. As the years went by the company continued to do newer things in their business. They quickly gained control of the frozen food market and also made new acquisitions, which contributed to the growth of the company. In the 1990s, the company added clients like Wal-Mart to its repertoire and in 1991 they registered sales of $1 billion dollars.

Their business acquisitions continued and also the growth and within a decade their annual sales reached upward of $8 billion dollars and in 2006 the same touches the figure of $20 billion.

The success of C&S Wholesale Grocers is attributed to the fact that they serve all types of stores irrespective of their size. And they do this in a very efficient manner. They are also able to offer their clients the best of discounts and services. C&S Wholesale Grocers have also involved in many philanthropy works over the years like free food distribution to the hungry kids or providing support to literacy programs. They have also reached out to the community in times of natural calamities and other emergency situations in the country.

Brenham Wholesale Grocery Co., Inc.

Brenham Wholesale Grocery Co., Inc. is based in Texas and one of the largest wholesale grocers in the US today. With their inventory of 17000 products, the company serves supermarkets, small stores and restaurants as well. Their product range includes meat produce, frozen foods, dry grocery items, candies, ice creams and many household products. The company was founded in 1905 and has been consistently growing in revenue ever since. The goal was to serve the grocery needs of their small Texas town but Brenham Wholesale Grocery Co., Inc. quickly grew to cover newer markets and geographical locations.

The success of Brenham Wholesale Grocery Co., Inc. is given to the fact that the company and its people quickly adapt to new markets and embrace new technology with ease to improve their business. The company is also known for their exemplary customer service.

International Wholesale

International Wholesale located at Southfield, Michigan specializes in serving the food distribution in dollar stores. But they do cater to all supermarkets, convenience stores and small retail stores. The company serves stores across many states in the US but also to other countries in many parts of the world. They also help businesses open new dollar stores. They have made a name in the market for selling quality products at a dollar rate. Their growth has been consistent over the years and their future looks brighter still


SpartanNash; in terms of revenue; is one of the largest wholesale food distributors serving the military commissaries in the USA. It not only distributes food products in the USA and some other countries as well but also owns and operates its own retail stores like Bag ‘n’ Save, Sun Mart and many more.


SUPERVALU is a leader in wholesale grocery distribution. The company serves stores across the nation through its dedicated network of stores. With their annual sales reaching the figure of $17 billion and their distribution network reaching millions of people, SUPERVALU is a name to be reckoned with and continues to grow in terms of size and revenue.

The company also manufactures their own products that they distribute through their own network. Their distribution centers are equipped with the latest technology. They pride themselves in keeping the pricing affordable for all. They have always believed in innovation and it is one of the reasons for the success of SUPERVALU. They have a solid distribution network and a team of dedicated employees. They also have a strong online tool that has helped the company expand its market. The tool helps suppliers by helping them with their orders and inventory management.

Synergy Brands Inc.

Synergy Brands Inc. distributes groceries and other household products to stores across the US. The company also manufactures its own range of packaged meals and spices and distributes the same as well. It was ranked as one of the largest distributors of groceries in the US, Synergy Brands Inc. filed for bankruptcy in 2011.

Metro Inc.

Metro Inc. is based in Quebec Canada but deserves a mention here as it is one of the largest distributors of food in Canada. The company operates hundreds of its own brands of food stores.

How to find wholesale grocers

Who Are Wholesale Grocers? – Wholesale Grocer Distributors

Who Are Wholesale Grocers? – Wholesale Grocer Distributors


Wholesale grocers are the bridge between the manufacturer and the retailer. Yes they are the ‘middleman’ everyone has come to despise. But few realize that without a dedicated distribution network, it is very difficult for products to reach the right stores and therefore the consumers.

The role of wholesale grocers

Wholesale grocers help with the merchandize distribution. They buy from the manufacturers and supply the products to retail stores, which is when the goods reach the consumers or the end-users.

How does a bar of soap reach the end-users or say a pack of cookies? When consumers buy a bar of soap from a retail store, they might not realize how the soap has reached their hands. The product distribution network works behind the scenes to reach consumers of all pocket sizes and needs. Some wholesale grocers supply to retail grocery stores and some sell to other wholesalers or distribution companies.

Wholesale grocers deal in perishable goods such as fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meat and other food stuff. They also deal in nonperishable products such as dry food products like cookies, snacks, candies, chocolates, canned foods, dry foods and such and also other products that a household needs like cleaning products, toiletries and such.

The types of wholesale grocery business

Wholesale grocers can work through different types of operations. Most common type is the wholesale distribution work. This is the classic ‘buying from manufacturers and selling to other wholesale grocers or retailers’ scenario. This is what comes to mind when people think of the wholesale business.

But there are times a manufacturer takes over the role of a wholesale grocer. Manufacturers might decide to not work through wholesale grocers and reduce the profits of their own. When such is the case manufacturers build their own network to deal with the sales and play the role of wholesale grocers, distributing their own products to the retailers.

One other thing that is popular in the wholesale grocery trade is the network of distribution brokers or agents who sell to retail stores after buying goods either directly from the manufacturers or wholesale grocers.

The functions of wholesale grocers

Successful wholesale grocers are expert negotiators. They work with the manufacturers to buy their products at the best pricing, which would prove to be profitable for them and earn them the widest margins of profits when they sell the same to the retailers. And they negotiate the pricing with retailers and other distributors as well. Without this skill wholesale grocers can’t survive in the wholesale trade or can’t make much profits.

Successful wholesale grocers are expert communicators. This is a skill they need to deal with people they have to do business with at each stage of the distribution process. Effective communication is an essential element of every business irrespective of the size and the industry. But in the case of wholesale trade, it is a must as someone who is not a good communicator won’t be able to negotiate well.

Negotiations are required for profit margins, to get the largest discounts and to get the best promotional offers that might be seasonal or not. These promotional offers often become the attractions for retail businesses as they can pass the same offers to the consumers, which is always the plan. For instance, in the case of soaps of the same quality, a manufacture who offers a free soap with three bars of the same soap might sell more than another brand of soap with no offers. Or during holidays, say Christmas, shiny packages or discounts on gift items might make the consumer really happy.

So a manufacturer might not always offer discounts or offers but a wholesale grocer might need to negotiate these out of them to increase their own profits margins. Then the expert communicators can negotiate the offers for them and not other wholesale grocers. This is business after all. A retailer might want to buy good from a wholesale grocers who has products with offers or promotions than from a grocer who has none or less attractive offers.

Successful wholesale grocers are blessed with good people skill or develop these over the years. One of the components through which Businesses thrive is the working relationships formed over the years. The trust that builds between say, a manufacturer and a distributor or a wholesaler and a retailer is what ensures long-term work and continued business.

Successful wholesale grocers are endowed with good finance skills. Wholesale business is the business of managing the slightest of margins. This is what makes a wholesale grocer profits. Even a tiny profit margin can ensure huge sums of profits over a period of time. Good money skills are therefore a quality every wholesale grocer needs to thrive in this business.

Successful wholesale grocers have excellent organization skills. Wholesale grocers need to maintain their own warehouses to store their goods, manage a fleet of vehicles needed to transport their stuff from one place to another and manage their employees at various stages of the business. Then there might be shipping involved if they deal in products that are being shipped to them by a manufacturer. Going to ports, doing the necessary paperwork and dealing with customs are not easy functions to perform. All these require a great set up that is only possible through god organizational skills.

Successful wholesale grocers need quick decision-making skills. Quick-thinking is a prerequisite to success in any business. More so when one needs to quickly decide on a pricing decision or think of placing a new product in the market, which could prove risky business. For instance manufacturers often give heavy discounts on goods that have some minor defects but are still usable. Wholesale grocers will need to quickly think if they can place this product with a retail store and if yes, then at what geographical location.

Successful whole grocers need ample patience. This is not the business of the timid. One needs to be fierce but still be patient with the several people involved in many distribution channels.