Food distributors deliver all types of food products, fresh or frozen, to catering or restaurant businesses and even hospitals or nursing homes. Food distributors normally act as an intermediary between the food manufacturers and the retailer or food preparer or user such as restaurants or chefs. Food distributors ensures the food arrives in perfect condition as food distributors may use specially adapted vehicles to ensure the food travels at ideal temperatures and in safe conditions to avoid cross contamination or any public health risks.
Some food distribution companies also double as wholesale food suppliers where they also manufacture the food by preparing them and freezing them ready to be cooked when they arrive at the food serving company. Food distributors tend to deliver food products in bulk quantities, often transported in multiple pallets therefore food distributors are often also known as wholesale food suppliers.
The pallets can be split into smaller units so that food distributors can distribute small or extremely large orders for a varying range of business or organisations. Food distributors are part of a cold food chain which is temperature controlled supply chain. Each link in the chain must be unbroken and the entire cold food chain is a series of uninterrupted storage and distribution activities, maintaining a required temperature range.
The cold chain of food distributors ensures the shelf life of distributed products are extended reducing health risks and ensures the final product is safe to consume. Food distributors play an important role in the food supply chain ensuring food products are transported from the manufacturing and preparation stages securely and within set time schedules and guideline. Food distributors may also be involved in the storage of food products as smaller retailers may not have sufficient shelf space to display many products.
Food distributors may buy in bulk and store the inventory until retailers are ready to place the next order. The savings made by food distributors may be passed on to the restaurant or retailer which is why food distributors offer wholesale food suppliers services.