Snack food distributors are an important part of the supply chain for a variety of businesses. They are the people who sell wholesale snacks to retailers and physically move the snacks from warehouses and other storage space to the retailers’ shelves. Becoming a successful snack food distributor requires startup capital and an understanding of the snack food industry.
Choose a Snack Food Niche
In every industry, choosing a niche is linked with business success. By choosing a niche, you narrow down your pool of competitors and make it easier for your company to connect with the clients who specifically want the product you provide rather than trying to sell the general market on your product.
You might decide that you want to become an ice cream bar distributor. That narrows your market to businesses that have the equipment to store ice cream and the clientele to support ice cream bar sales. This means you are only competing with other ice cream bar distributors, which in turn means that to be competitive, you need to invest in cold storage and transportation.
The principles of niching apply to your business no matter what niche you choose. If your focus is on natural, healthy snacks, your selling points might be how you source products from environmentally conscious suppliers or that the products you carry come in eco-friendly packaging. If you choose to distribute items like cheese sticks and beef jerky, you can stand out to fitness center clients by emphasizing that you distribute the snacks bodybuilders want to buy.
Build Relationships With Snack-Food Wholesalers
As a snack food distributor, your business relies on your relationships with snack food wholesalers. You are the middleman between snack food wholesalers and retailers. You can work with snack food wholesalers in your city or with large online wholesalers like:
- Mister Snacks
- Truly Good Foods
The niche you choose will determine the snack food wholesalers with which you work. Some wholesalers focus solely on candy or on healthy, all-natural snack products. Others sell a variety of snack foods in bulk. Once you decide which types of snacks you will carry, find snack food wholesalers online and in your area that sell these kinds of snacks.
Create and Maintain Clean, Secure Storage and Transportation
Two things a snack food distributor must have are:
- Secure storage space for inventory
- A reliable way to transport snacks to buyers
Some snack distributors keep their inventory in their homes, while others rent warehouse space or self-storage units. No matter which option you choose for your inventory storage space, it should be climate controlled and secure against rodent and insect infestations and should keep the snacks out of direct sunlight. The heat and UV rays of direct sunlight can damage snack packaging and the snacks themselves, as can excessive heat, cold or humidity.
Similarly, your vehicle should be secure and should keep snacks out of extreme temperatures and direct sunlight. Many candies, like chocolate and gummies, can melt and warp in the heat. Cheese and meat products can spoil when exposed to the heat, and any type of baked good can become stale in humid conditions. To ensure that snacks and their packaging are not damaged in sudden stops or when driving over potholes, be sure to build secure shelving in your vehicle and store snack boxes snugly.
Pursue Snack Distribution Opportunities
Snack distribution opportunities to research and consider include:
- Summer camps
- Religious and fraternal organizations
- Sports stadiums
- Event venues
- Food trucks and other traveling vendors
- Convenience stores
- Mass transit hubs and stops
- Car dealerships and similar retailers
- Grocery stores
As a snack food distributor, your business relies on continually finding new snack distribution opportunities. This is another area where your niche will drive your business choices. The right snack distribution opportunities for a distributor who carries popular mainstream candies are usually not the right opportunities for a distributor who focuses on individual packages of locally sourced produce.
Similarly, you might focus on supplying convenience stores and newsstands in your area, or your product might be a better fit for environments like schools, events held by cultural and religious organizations or traveling vendors.