Fresh Produce Wholesalers
Companies in this industry distribute fresh fruits, vegetables, spices, and herbs. Major companies include Caito Foods Service, Coast Citrus Distributors, FreshPoint, and Tom Lange Company (all based in the US), as well as Fresh Produce Group (Australia), Fyffes (Ireland), IG International (India), Oppenheimer Group (Canada), Tokyo Seika (Japan), and Total Produce (Ireland). Vertically integrated fruit and vegetable producers such as Chiquita, Dole, and Del Monte have major global distribution operations.
Worldwide, about 700 million metric tons of fruit and more than 1 billion metric tons of vegetable and melon crops are produced each year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Increased global trade in fruits and vegetables creates opportunities for fresh produce distributors. Developing countries, especially those where both populations and incomes are increasing, are expected to account for growth in demand for higher-value imported foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
The US fresh produce wholesalers industry includes about 4,800 establishments (single-location companies or units of multi-location companies) that generate annual revenue of about $87 billion.
Demand is driven by consumption of fruits and vegetables. Profitability depends on maintaining a high quality and varied selection of produce and on efficient operations. Larger distributors benefit from economies of scale in purchasing and transportation. Smaller companies may compete by specializing in certain products, such as tropical fruits or organic products, or by focusing on a geographical area. The US industry is fragmented: the 50 largest companies account for about 35% of industry revenue.
Produce cooperatives, in which growers work together to process and distribute their products, compete with traditional distributors. Major retailers or food service contractors may choose to deal directly with growers, bypassing distributors.
Products, Operations & Technology
Distributors' main operations involve getting fruit and vegetables from producers to customers, which include food retailers and food service providers.
Sales & Marketing
Finance & Regulation
Regional & International Issues
Also includes the following chapters:
Quarterly Industry Update
Trends and Opportunities
Call Preparation Questions
Glossary of Acronyms