The supply chain within a supermarket: Wholesale Food Suppliers


If you give thought to wholesale food suppliers you will be quite surprised at the food chain. Wholesale food suppliers may manufacture their own food products, but they also get food products from other manufacturers. Think of a brand like Heinz, for example. This is a big brand and they make their own food products. They supply food wholesalers, as do all the other big brands, such as Sanitarium, Kellogs, Nestle, Coke, and Kraft to name just a few out of literally thousands.

A supermarket does not go to these suppliers directly, in most instances, but goes via the wholesale food supplier who stocks all the brands. So the brands supply the food wholesaler, who supplies the supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, airlines and delis, and these places supply the end customer, i.e., the shopper. Some wholesale food suppliers also supply private households directly.

A long food chain

Each supermarket, deli, restaurant, hotel, or airline has its own relationship with wholesale food suppliers. Some work directly with the actual brands (perhaps with Coke for refreshments), and then some get almost everything from the wholesale food supplier.

A wholesaler works with food and refreshment brands from all around the world. They can supply ten different kinds of olives, thirty different kinds of cheese, or a range of brands of milk. The supermarket gets to choose what they want to buy from the supplier, depending on their market. It is an important relationship. The food chain is a long one but the most important relationship is the one between wholesale food supplier and store.

Prices of food, within the food chain

This food chain might seem quite complicated: brand, wholesale food manufacturer, shop and customer. It might make you think prices are four times as much as they should be. But the wholesale food manufacturer gets prices that you or I could never get. The brands sell to the wholesale food manufacturers at heavily discounted prices, knowing the wholesale food manufacturer is ultimately responsible for getting their brand to the stores. The wholesaler sells at discounted prices to the supermarket, knowing the supermarket is ultimately responsible for getting their food products sold. And the supermarkets and shops need to give good prices to their customers, or food is going to sit on their shelves. Prices are often discounted.

Different food suppliers

Some supermarkets get fresh produce from their own local suppliers, relying on the wholesale food suppliers to supply boxed, tinned, canned, and frozen foods, dairy, and breads. It is not uncommon for a supermarket to use a few different wholesale food suppliers.

As long as the prices are good and the customer is benefiting at the end of the day, and wholesale food suppliers work directly with wholesale food manufacturers.

Written by Lee Newton