Getting the Product to the Customer: DIY vs. Third-Party Distribution

Many ubiquitous food brands have a classic distribution story.

You know the one: starting from the back of a van, or a garage, driving around cases of bars or juice or almond milk to the hungry locals who served as the initial customer base. Inevitably, as these brands grow they transition to traditional third-party distribution networks to get their product to the most people.

However, knowing when to make that transition β€” and whether there are any steps in between β€” is tricky.

There’s a personal touch to a hand-delivered case that just can’t be beat, but it’s not a scalable model. What works for your business will depend on your team’s abilities and bandwidth, your costs, and the availability of alternative distribution models in your area.

How Does Distro Even Work?

There’s a lot more to distribution than just putting products on a truck that is bound for retail stores. This helpful summary from Consumer Psychologist provides plenty of context to how exactly everyone in the supply chain makes money, and the feedback loops involved in the process. Brush up before you make any decisions!

If you’re not ready to go straight from DIY delivery to Sysco, these tips from Green Mountain Mustard provides some insight on unique alternatives you might not have thought about. It’s a modern world, and more than just the largest food distributors can help get your products to hungry people.

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