Food and drink wholesalers and distributors supply and support over 400,000 retail and foodservice businesses across the UK, from independent convenience stores to farm shops, from hotels and schools to restaurants and staff canteens.
This market is worth over £30bn each year and growing. Wholesale distribution provides a link between manufacturers and independent retailers and caterers. It is a huge industry that supports high streets and local communities across the country. The role of wholesale distributors is to buy product in bulk, at cheaper prices than a small independent buyer could negotiate, and sell and distribute them to smaller individual buyers.
The two methods of distribution that are used are delivery and cash and carry. Wholesalers often have their own transportation operations to deliver goods directly to their customers. Cash and carry sites are large depots where businesses can go to buy and collect their goods. Wholesale distributors will use one or both of these methods.
FWD members operate 800 cash and carry depots and distribution centres around the UK, supplying 73,000 shops and 330,000 foodservice operators.