Distribution in the Grocery Industry

Distribution is, perhaps, the most underestimated factor in food product marketing. Many marketers are of the assumption that making great products will automatically lead to high sales. However, many strategies are employed in order to ensure that consumers start patronizing a particular product.

Grocery stores or supermarkets rely on distributors to fill their shelves. Pantries will stay empty without the vast network of distribution that takes place across the country. Thanks to the efforts of these efficient grocery distributors, fresh grocery products continue to arrive at stores. Distributions of food products require special attention because they are easily perishable. Food products can quickly become stale and unfit for consumption, unlike durable goods like clothes, electronic items, accessories, which can be kept on the store shelve for years and still retain its quality.

The Grocery industry acts as middlemen between food producers and consumers. This industry has exhibited a considerable level of growth over the past few years, and it is estimated to continue to grow at a steady pace over the subsequent years.

With the innovation of specialized marketing channels, it is unusual for manufacturers to market their products personally. Many products do not go as far as through the doors of grocery stores because they remain with the local marketers or farmers. They are unable to find profitable methods of distributing them. Some distributors specialize in conventional grocery items, while some handle natural, specialty products. The conventional distribution path for a food product is from the manufacturer to the distributor then to the retailer before the products finally get to the consumers.


These channels can be divided into two: namely, direct and indirect channels. The direct channel is simply a direct-to-consumer model, it allows the consumer to purchase the goods directly from the producers. This channel eliminates middlemen like retailers and wholesalers.

An indirect channel involves the buying of goods from a wholesaler or retailer.  Indirect channels involve multiple intermediaries before the products finally end up with the consumer. However, this can create a complex system that makes distribution management difficult.


Knowing consumers’ desire is the key to a grocer’s success. Tweak your products to fit the customer’s tastes while also retaining the quality of the products. Find your niche and establish yourself in that area. Take whole foods; for instance, the company has established itself as the leader in the organic and natural food segment. They care about their customers who continue to patronize them regardless of their expensive food products. Proper inventory management is also a necessity.

Notwithstanding the complexity of distribution in the grocery industry, relevance in the grocery industry is not unattainable.