Understanding Wholesale
Where to look, who to ask, and how to succeed in wholesale

Food and drink distribution is a complex business with thousands of customer businesses with their individual needs from their wholesalers and product manufacturers. There’s also an increasing number of ways to engage, inform and supply those customers.

Fortunately, help is at hand. If you’re interested in getting your products to these outlets via FWD members, we can recommend some agencies who can help you understand your target market, the retailers and caterers our wholesalers supply. With their help, you can tailor your products, promotions and marketing to capture first the interest and then the orders from this vast customer base – and the knowledge and data they provide will massively help you make the most of your partnership with a wholesaler.

Have a look at our Services to Wholesale directory for our recommended insight providers and wholesale sector consultants.

New to the channel? Here’s your two-minute introduction

…and a longer explanation

More on the foodservice market and its 350,000 catering customers

FWD Service Provider members
Our insight partners
wholesalers in their 20s share their vision for the future
What's next for wholesale?

FWD Research

FWD commissions research into the wholesale channel and its customers. We share this with our wholesaler members and Supplier Partners.

The Future of Wholesale
Centre for Future Studies, University of Kent, June 2019

This project looks at scenarios for the wholesale channel up to 2030, taking into account changes in technology, the structure of the market, global trends and consumer behaviour. It assesses their likelihood and impact of each factor, and suggests strategies for wholesalers and suppliers to stay ahead of the curve as we navigate the tectonic shifts of the next few years.

The Whole Society
Capital Economics
June 2018

Based on the contributions of FWD members, this report demonstrates the economic and social impact of the wholesale distribution sector – from creating employment to supporting thousands of small businesses, from its tax contribution to its services provided in every region of the UK.

Retail Beyond Convenience
September 2017

A look at the needs and desires of the 32,000 retailers supplied by FWD members that are not convenience stores. Where do they make their purchases, and what influences their buying decisions? What support advice do they expect from their wholesalers and suppliers?

Caterers’ Attitude to Online Ordering
Cambridge Direction
December 2017

In a survey of chefs and catering managers supplied by FWD distributors, we ask how, when and from whom they order their stock, and how they prefer to receive product information.

Caterers’ Use of Social Media
Cambridge Direction
December 2017

The smartphone is as much a part of the chef’s equipment as their knives, so what are they looking for at the end of service? We ask them where they go for inspiration and support.

Caterers Support Needs
Cambridge Direction
March 2016

The result of 450 caterer conversations, this report uncovers the most pressing issues caterers have with their wholesalers, and the help and advice they’d like to receive from their supply chain partners.