The Redistributor Advantage: Expanding Your Food Suppliers Reach and Customer Base

William Butler Yeats, an Irish poet, once said, “There are no strangers here, just friends you haven’t met yet.” Our version for food suppliers in the foodservice industry is unknown customers are just future customers you haven’t met yet. Just think of Honor Foods, one of the best redistribution companies, as the expert matchmaker between food suppliers and foodservice distributors. Our goal as a redistributor is to act as an extension of the food manufacturer brands we sell to help them grow, expand their business, and service their customers with a great level of customer service. One of the best ways to do that is by using our experience and customer base to introduce our food suppliers to unknown customers and service those customers.

Who Are These “Unknown” Customers?

We can consider unknown customers to be anyone you, as the food supplier, don’t already do business with directly. Often, these are small to midsized independent distributors that aren’t on your radar. You, as the food supplier, may or may not even know these companies exist, what their names are, or where they are located. Even if you are aware of them, you likely just don’t have the capacity to service them.

Food suppliers thrive off of servicing the big distributors directly, distributors that order full truckload quantities and exist in areas your trucks can easily access. The problem is that there are a ton of small to midsized independent distributors who would love to buy your product but don’t fit into that classification. That is a lot of potential profit and market share being left on the table by food suppliers. As a redistributor, we specialize in servicing those small to mid-sized independent distributors that are difficult to reach for food manufacturers.

How Can Food Suppliers Reach These Unknown Customers?

Food suppliers can easily reach these unknown customers by Partnering with a redistributor like Honor Foods. One of the best redistribution companies is Honor Foods. We can use our redistribution expertise to help you reach these unknown customers. We are also a foodservice redistribution Partner offering freight brokerage through our sister company, Trinity Logistics, which allows us to reach customers others can’t. In fact, our service area is three to four times larger than most, opening up a wealth of opportunities to introduce your product into new areas.

Often the reason that food suppliers are unable to reach these small to medium-sized independent distributors is because they are in a difficult area to reach geographically compared to where the food suppliers’ storage facilities are, or those customers aren’t able to buy large quantities of items. By working with a redistributor like Honor Foods, you eliminate both of those issues.

How Can a Redistributor Like Honor Foods Reach These Customers When the Food Supplier Can’t Reach Them Directly?

It’s simple. We already do! We are experts at reaching those foodservice distributors that food suppliers can’t service. We carry over 300 brands and over 3,000 items in stock. Think about how many different customers allow us to interact with. It is much easier to convince them to try a new vendor when we are delivering to them anyway and can just add a few cases or pallets, letting them expand their product catalog while increasing their logistics footprint.

We also have vast experience in niche areas such as dairy that opens us up to new opportunities. Because of the shelf life of dairy, we deliver to those customers more frequently and they deliver to end users more frequently. This increases the opportunity to get new products in front of end users. When end users adopt a new product, their distributors keep it stocked, which means food suppliers now have a new customer.

Won’t Working with a Redistributor Be Competing with Ourselves?

The short answer is no. We exist to grow your business and help you expand into new markets, not take away your customers. You can still service customers directly while also working with Honor Foods. At Honor Foods, we work together as a Partner to help you service customers that it is difficult to sell directly to, allowing you to sell to more companies, not just the big companies. After all, 100 pennies equal a dollar just as well as four quarters do. Only being able to service large distributors automatically reduces your available market share. According to ASI, Mid-Size distributors had the biggest collective revenue gain in 2023 at 3.1%, with 53% of distributors in this category growing full-year sales, topping the various distributor categories. Meanwhile, according to ASI, in 2023, 46% of large distributors and 43% of extra-large distributors saw revenue drop.

What this means for you as a food supplier is the market for small to midsized independent distributors is growing, and you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to work with them. In fact, it is imperative to the success of your food supplier company.

Who Does Honor Foods Sell to?

By contract as a redistributor, Honor Foods can only sell to distributors, not end users. Honor Foods sells to a variety of distributors that are all different sizes, mostly small to midsized independent distributors. These distributors are located all throughout the northeast and southeast, and even down through Texas.

Not only does Honor Foods service the broad liner community, but Honor Foods also reaches certain segments that the traditional regional redistributor doesn’t, making Honor Foods one of the best redistribution companies to Partner with. These non-traditional customers still fall in the distributor segment and include produce houses, bakery distributors, dairies, C-Stores, and manufacturers who use our products as ingredients. That said, the broad liner remains the core of Honor Foods’ business model.

One unique benefit of our diverse customer base is the frequency of visits. Take a produce house as an example. Most operators not only buy from a broad liner but also use a produce house that delivers to them more frequently with lower minimums. Produce houses buy our dairy products, tomato products, pickles, bacon, hot sauce, sandwich wraps, salsa – you name it. Many food suppliers don’t sell directly to these customers, but it provides an opportunity to get your product in a new market as a simple add-on, allowing us to sell to the “hard to service” accounts that don’t buy enough of your categories for you to ever hope to sell direct.

Will Working with a Redistributor Like Honor Foods Help Me Reach a Larger Geography?

Depending on the footprint of your current market, the answer is likely yes, especially for smaller or regional food suppliers looking to expand. Between our Sunny Morning brand, which has locations and warehouses in Orlando, Florida, and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida addition, our sister company, Trinity Logistics, is a leading freight broker. Through that relationship, we are able to quickly and cost-effectively get orders where they need to go and open us up to serving a larger geographical area. For example, we often visit Texas and Chicago to serve customers and everywhere in between. This is great for food suppliers who may have their warehouse in Boston and struggle to reach the Southeast market. We are often able to add those orders to existing trucking routes.

How Can Working with a Redistributor Like Honor Foods Reduce the Credit Risk to Suppliers?

Credit risk can be another barrier to entry for small to mid-sized independent distributors. By working with Honor Foods, food suppliers don’t have to worry about the credit risk of working with someone unknown. They can work with one large company that they know has buying power and credibility.

What Benefits Does a Redistributor Like Honor Foods Offer That Helps Reach These Unknown Customers?

There are several services Honor Foods offers that help solidify them as one of the best foodservice redistribution companies.

  • Honor Foods offers a pick-up service. This allows very small distributors or jobbers to pick up locally, sometimes multiple times a day. This keeps products fresh and available for these companies that may have very limited storage space. In addition, offering pick-up allows small to midsized independent distributors to receive products more frequently and access products with a quick turnaround if they were to run out.
  • Honor Foods offers simplified logistics for both the food supplier and small to midsized independent distributors. By working with a foodservice redistributor like Honor Foods, you can deliver a large truckload order to one place instead of several LTL (less than truckload) shipments to many different places. That cuts logistics costs for the food supplier and appeals to the business model food suppliers thrive on. In addition, this appeals to too small to midsized independent distributors because they can get orders of several products from several manufacturers all in one delivery. Meanwhile, we use our unique partnership with sister company Trinity Logistics to deliver smaller orders using LTL food shipment optimization.
  • Honor Foods offers additional sales support. Our sales and purchasing Team works hard to fully understand your product and ideal market and then reach those customers. We have both an inside and outside sales Team. Our inside sales Team acts as the main point of contact for distributors. Our outside sales Team focuses on acquiring new customers for our food supplier Partners through outreach and food demos.
  • Honor Foods buys in a way that benefits food suppliers and sells in a way that benefits distributors, bridging the gap between the two. No matter whether you are the food supplier or the foodservice distributor, this process allows for the efficiency of one order, one delivery, and one invoice. Because of Honor Foods’ large customer base, we can purchase truckloads directly for manufacturers in large quantities, easily meeting minimums. At the same time, Honor Foods can sell smaller quantities to distributors with no manufacturer minimums. This appeals to small to midsized foodservice distributors because it allows for faster turn times, shorter lead times, and often weekly deliveries.

Is Honor Foods an Approved Supplier?

Honor Foods is an approved supplier through all major buying groups, such as Unipro, Legacy, Golbon, Frosty Acres, Federated, and Select Marketing.


One of the main reasons food suppliers Partner with a redistributor is their ability to expand the reach of their products. One of the biggest ways a redistributor like Honor Foods can expand a food supplier’s reach is by introducing them to unknown customers. These unknown customers are often small to mid-sized independent distributors, a growing segment of the distribution market. By working with a redistributor like Honor Foods, food suppliers can expand to new geographies, touch product categories that they typically wouldn’t, and sell to customers who can’t buy full truckload quantities. In turn, this increases the food supplier’s market share and helps to grow the business.

Learn more about how Honor Foods can help your food supplier company grow.

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.