Local Food Wholesale Market Assessment

The global food industry, including the local food category, is dynamic and rapidly changing. Over the past 20 years the local food category has evolved from an emerging to a maturing market, with wholesale becoming an increasingly dominant sales channel for this category. This report, commissioned by NOFA-VT in collaboration with the Farm to Plate Network, documents major trends in the shifting retail and institutional wholesale channels for local food, with a focus on produce, proteins, and dairy. The report also documents general practices and expectations when operating within wholesale.

Research involved interactions and interviews with buyers, distributors, and suppliers based in the Northeast, and information gathered from industry conferences and third-party research. This report serves to inform suppliers, and identify areas of strategic alignment for service providers hoping to support suppliers selling into wholesale. It provides an introduction to the tools and information suppliers need to survive and thrive in wholesale. It also provides the broader food system community a greater understanding of how wholesale operates, and how it is impacting, supporting, and altering the viability, sustainability, and make-up of our local food system.

This report also contributed to the creation of Distribution and Wholesale Financial Analysis Decision Making Tool,  which assists producers with the financial decision making related to product market channel, distribution and delivery selection.       

Funding for the Local Foods Wholesale Market Assessment was provided by John Merck Fund and the Farm to Plate Network. Prepared by Rose Wilson Consulting LLC for the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) and the Farm to Plate Network