March 28, 2022 / by Danny Mavis

Before you start a business selling food, you will need to consider all aspects of the business carefully. One key element is how you source your food ingredients. Of all the tasks you have to do to start your food business, choosing a food supplier is one of the most important ones. It will be at the heart of everything you produce and everyone you employ, as well as what your customers think of you.

So, you must choose this carefully. Food distributors make it easier for you to get the fresh ingredients you need to keep up with your demand, and give your customers the high-quality products they expect. Let’s see what questions you should ask before picking a food supplier for your business.

Determine Your Food Business Needs

If you want to find out how to choose a food supplier, find out what type of products or services the food supplier offers. This is important because then you’ll see if they fit your food business needs.

If the product or service is not something that you are interested in, then it would be better if you just avoid dealing with them altogether. If by chance you like a certain product they offer, but not the rest, then source from multiple suppliers and distributors.

Front view of man touching with finger choosing Best offer on a display over Negotiate and Deal

Look For A Reputable Supplier

There are many food suppliers, so you need to choose the right supplier that is ideal for your business. The easiest way to determine what kind of food supplier is right for you is by talking to other people who are also in the industry. You can ask them questions about their experiences with different suppliers and get some feedback on their service levels and product offerings.

Food safety is paramount and should be the first thing to look for when selecting a food supplier. For that reason, it’s important to look at their reputation in the industry and how long they have been established. You want a supplier that has been in business for years and can stand behind their products, such as one of the best Australian wholesale produce suppliers, scicluna’s real food merchants.

Choosing scicluna’s real food merchants will ensure that you get quality ingredients at affordable prices, along with getting honest and reliable information about each product, so you can feel confident when dealing with them.

Front view of Scicluna's Real Food Merchants store

Understand Distribution Costs

Anyone who is starting a food business needs to be aware of the costs associated with their product, and one of these costs relates to your food supplier. As a business owner, you need to understand how much you’ll pay for each item from your supplier, as well as how much you’ll pay for the delivery, to make sure that the price you charge for your products and services covers all of your expenses, including those related to distribution costs.

Truck toy driving money

What are Distribution Costs?

Distribution costs are what you pay when receiving deliveries from your suppliers. It includes the cost of delivery as well as any additional fees that apply (e.g., weight surcharges). These charges vary depending on the supplier. Food suppliers vary greatly in their operating costs, and factors that affect the costs of a food supplier include:

Location of the Supplier

Some areas of the country are more expensive to operate due to higher labour and occupancy costs. Other factors can also affect the cost of doing business in certain areas, such as local laws, regulations, and taxes.

Size of the Supplier

Bigger food suppliers generally have lower operating costs than small food suppliers. The larger food supplier can spread out its costs over a larger volume of sales, which lowers its cost per unit sold.

Products Sold by the Supplier

Some products are more expensive to handle than others. For example, some products require refrigeration, which increases distribution costs. Other products may be heavy and require special handling equipment or additional storage space for the same amount of product. There are also perishable products that have to be rotated quickly because they spoil easily, resulting in waste and higher replacement costs.

Supply chain cost from raw materials through supplier, manufacturing, distribution to customer

How Does The Supplier Handle Quality Control?

When it comes to the success of your food business, quality control is a paramount concern. The last thing you want to do is lose customers due to it, so one solution is to find a supplier, like scicluna’s merchants who go beyond the standard when it comes to their commitment to quality, along with having the proper certifications.

Too often, manufacturers are caught between price and quality and are forced to make compromises in either category. No matter what size your operation is, or what kind of product you’re offering, there are measures you can take to ensure that the items you use are consistent and top-notch. Here are some questions to ask your potential food supplier about their quality control standards:

  • Does their policy include compliance with regulations?
  • Which certifications do they have?
  • What steps does the supplier take to ensure the safety of their products?
  • What steps do they take to prevent contamination during production, storage, and distribution?
  • Will they provide ingredient statements, nutritional information and allergen statements as required by state and federal law?
  • Do they offer organic or locally sourced foods?
Front view of Scicluna’s Real Food Merchants shelves full with fruits

To Sum Up

In the food industry, the right supplier can make or break an entire business. While many factors go into choosing the right one, using this compiled list of tips might guide you through that process. Researching these factors can help you determine your ideal supplier and lead you towards a more successful business.