Revolutionizing Food Logistics: Redistributors vs. Distributors in 2024

Revolutionizing Food Logistics: Redistributors vs. Distributors in 2024

In the last few years, the food service industry has experienced huge shifts in consumer behavior and continues to adapt to the changing times. With evolving technology and new generational preferences, navigating the supply chain can be tricky. While traditional distributors act as powerhouses, moving large quantities and stocking extensive warehouses, they might not always have the mobility to cater to orders from smaller, niche kitchens. This is where redistributors like Honor Foods shine. We’re the nimble navigators specializing in low-volume, need-based orders from both big brands and smaller producers. We solve the bulk order limitations by consolidating orders from multiple manufacturers and then handing off that optimized order to a distributor, ensuring flexibility and access to last-minute ingredients without minimum quantity headaches. Whether you have a restaurant seeking that exotic spice or a school needing diverse dietary options, Honor Foods offers distributors custom fulfillment solutions and streamlined ordering, ensuring their customers thrive in the ever-evolving world of foodservice.

Understanding the Foodservice Supply Chain and the Rise of Redistribution 

The foodservice industry presents a complex, multi-layered supply chain that connects diverse tastes across the globe. To understand how redistribution is changing the game, let’s first dissect the key components:

  1. Producers: Farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and food manufacturers form the foundation, providing raw materials or processed ingredients.
  2. Processors and Packagers: These entities transform raw materials into ready-to-eat products, often specializing in specific areas like meatpacking or fruit canning.
  3. Distributors and Wholesalers: These middlemen purchase in bulk from producers and processors, storing and distributing products to various establishments. Sometimes, distributors cater to a specific region or product category.
  4. Redistributors: Redistributors service distributors by purchasing in bulk and offering lower quantities that manufacturers and processors can’t accommodate. Redistributors work with distributors, not foodservice operators, to help move products quickly and efficiently. This segment of the supply chain is very helpful when dealing with perishable items that need replenishing often. 
  5. Foodservice Operators: Restaurants, cafes, hotels, and catering companies receive orders from distributors and use them to prepare and serve food to their customers.
  6. Consumers: This is the final link in the chain, driving demand for specific ingredients and dishes, which influences the entire system.

How Redistribution Impacts the Supply Chain and Distributors

Redistribution is impacting this chain, particularly in response to diversifying tastes. Consumers now crave a wider variety of cuisines and dietary options, from vegan alternatives to global street food. Distributors often struggle to accommodate these niche demands due to minimum order requirements and regional limitations. Redistributors can consolidate smaller orders from multiple manufacturers, making unique ingredients and specialized products accessible to distributors of all sizes.

Redistribution can shorten the chain by consolidating multiple shipments. This process involves strategic warehouses to ensure direct delivery from manufacturers to distributors, cutting out intermediary steps and reducing food waste. 

The dispersing of bulk quantity items works in two ways. First, by connecting smaller producers with a wider pool of customers, redistribution encourages experimentation and culinary innovation. Smaller companies can gain access to new markets, allowing chefs to incorporate unique ingredients and create dishes that reflect diverse cuisines and dietary preferences. On the other end, large manufacturers can reach smaller foodservice operators by going through a redistributor that will reallocate the shipment to a distributor with various commercial and non-commercial kitchens. 

Redistribution can streamline the ordering process and lower costs for both distributors and manufacturers. Consolidated deliveries and reduced administrative overhead benefit everyone in the chain. This increased accessibility allows operators to offer a wider variety of dishes at competitive prices, catering to budget-conscious consumers.

By filling niche demand, shortening the chain, fostering innovation, and enhancing cost-efficiency, redistribution empowers the foodservice industry to satisfy the ever-changing palates of consumers.

The Traditional Gateway: Distributors in the Supply Chain

Distributors serve as the traditional gateway between producers and operators. They purchase vast quantities of products directly from manufacturers and store them in expansive warehouses, typically climate-controlled or refrigerated. Then, they ship LTL orders directly to restaurants, hotels, and institutions, ensuring a steady flow of ingredients. Some distributors offer a wealth of value-added services, from assisting with menu planning and equipment sourcing to even providing financial support. As the population expands and market demands grow, supply chains are not always so straightforward in getting items from point A to point B. This is where redistributors enter as another option for distributors to purchase products from. 

A Modern Solution: Redistributors in the Supply Chain

While distributors are the long-standing tradition of the foodservice chain, redistributors like Honor Foods are evolving alongside to meet the needs of today’s operators. We shine in flexibility, consolidating orders from a multitude of manufacturers to offer customized sourcing solutions. We specialize in catering to low-volume, variable-demand, and time-sensitive items, ensuring our distribution partners get the turnaround they need to stay competitive. 

How Redistributors Work with Distributors in the Supply Chain

  1. Enhanced product availability: A warehouse stocked by multiple manufacturers means less stock-outs and more constituent availability, offering foodservice operators better reliability in menu creation.
  2. Streamlined ordering and delivery: The ordering process is simplified by consolidating invoices and deliveries, saving foodservice operators time and resources.
  3. Reduced costs: Distributors can still take advantage of volume discounts when buying through a redistributor, because the redistributor will often pass along the savings from the manufacturer to their own Partners.
  4. Increased focus on sustainability: Less emissions when using one truck combining multiple orders, rather than several small truckloads. 


Ready to add Honor Foods to your supply chain? Distributors can embrace the agility, cost-savings, and diverse sourcing options that redistribution offers by signing up with us. Unlock menu flexibility, optimize logistics, and cater to evolving customer preferences with Honor Foods as your Partner in navigating the dynamic foodservice landscape. 


Explore Our Other Relevant Categories

Distributors  Foodservice Redistribution  News  Vendors 

Discover Honor Foods Content with Similar Tags

distributors  Foodservice redistribution  vendors 


About Honor Foods

Honor Foods, a Burris Logistics Company, was founded in 1949 as a redistributor of center-of-the-plate foods. Since then, Honor Foods has grown into the Mid-Atlantic region’s premier provider of frozen, refrigerated, dry, and dairy products, representing more than 300 brand-name food suppliers and carrying more than 3,000 in-stock items. Honor Foods brands R.W. Zant and Sunny Morning provide additional beef and dairy expertise on the West Coast and in the southeast. In addition, our exclusive house brands — Colony Lane and Valley Fresh, have a well-earned reputation for top quality and value at competitive prices.

Great products and prices are just part of the Honor Foods value-add. We pride ourselves in having a Team of dedicated professionals who manage each partnership. Our commitment to your business needs is what makes us unique.