Where to Buy Wholesale Produce: 11 Essential Tips

By
Nicole Georgiev
Table of Contents
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    There seems to be tons of great options out there for purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables. However, when you need to buy wholesale items, you’re going to want to look for a produce wholesaler. Wholesale produce is often essential for restaurants and is a cost-effective way for them to purchase inventory.

    It can be easy for you to get lost in all the companies and their product offerings when you type “wholesale produce near me” in your search bar. So how do you know for sure that you’ve found the right B to B wholesale distributor? There are a few factors to consider when running a wholesale business

    There’s no doubt that the produce distribution industry is continuing to grow at a rapid rate. Part of this is thanks to 2022 food trends. You want to keep a few things in mind when you’re looking into how to sell produce wholesale, how to run a wholesale distribution business for produce, and where to buy wholesale produce.

    In this article, we’ll cover various aspects of produce wholesaling including how to choose the best supplier and what some of those companies are. 

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    What Is Wholesale Produce?

    Wholesale produce refers to buying fruits and vegetables in bulk from a supplier. Most restaurants, grocery stores, and other brick and mortar shop locations don’t grow their own fruits and vegetables and sell them. Instead, they rely on buying wholesale produce items from suppliers. 

    These wholesalers have a network of growers and bulk shipping professionals that support their clients when they want to buy wholesale produce. They utilize temperature-controlled storage facilities to ensure the freshness and quality of their products. Most wholesalers strive to get their produce items to customers while it's still fresh. 

    Choosing the Best Wholesale Produce Supplier

    If you’re a restaurant manager or owner, or operate a type of food business, it’s crucial for you to choose a reliable wholesale produce supplier. This is how you’ll be able to efficiently cater to your customers and their needs. 

    A good wholesale produce supplier should offer high quality and fresh produce. Aside from this, they should also have time-saving distribution practices so that you can keep your business running efficiently. 

    When it comes time for you to buy wholesale produce, you’re going to want to keep a few things in mind. Wholesale suppliers affect the way you price your products. They also affect what kind of products you offer and your ability to get purchases to your customers in a timely manner. 

    6 Points to Consider When Choosing Where to Buy Wholesale Produce

    Since it’s such a big decision to make, you’re going to want to make an informed decision. Here are some things to consider when you’re picking a wholesale produce supplier:

    1. The Price

    Price is always a factor when making a deal. It’s important to keep in mind that prices fluctuate based on produce availability, similar to other foods, like wholesale meat and wholesale seafood. This is due to the seasonality of vegetables and fruits. In some cases, you’ll be able to negotiate the price, but this isn’t always the case. 

    There are suppliers that can offer you competitive prices, but the quality might not be up to par. This is why the following factors can also play a part in the choosing process. 

    2. Quality of the Produce

    Many companies will promise quality, but not deliver. The quality of the produce can vary based on the handling of the items, weather, and farming conditions.

    The food service quality of fresh produce can include various attributes like its texture, appearance, and flavor. There are also food safety and nutritional aspects that can affect their value to the consumer. 

    Proper research of the produce supplier is encouraged in order to understand their growing, harvesting, and handling processes. When you understand a company’s growing and harvesting methods, you can get an idea of the quality of its products. 

    3. Product Variety

    It’s always good to know that you have options. The same goes for when you choose a produce supplier. It’s ideal to pick one that provides a variety of produce. This way, you won’t have to rely on different suppliers for different products. Instead, you’ll find everything that you need in one place.

    Suppliers that can provide you with all the produce types that you need will ease your burden, and it can also be beneficial to your business. With more products to sell, you’ll likely have a higher profit. 

    4. Knowledge About the Produce

    Your wholesale produce supplier should be knowledgeable about the products they sell. Having sufficient product knowledge and the ability to provide necessary information is crucial for supplier-consumer relationships. This is how questions get answered and why long-term customers stick around. 

    With the proper knowledge and experience, products can be delivered in optimal conditions. This is due to the factors like seasonal variations, growing conditions, and logistical issues that may occur throughout the supplying, eCommerce packaging, and eCommerce shipping process. With careful consideration of these factors, you’ll be able to get the freshest products. 

    5. Simple Ordering Methods

    In many cases, the ordering processes can take time and cause trouble. However, this isn’t the ideal situation. Ordering wholesale produce shouldn’t be a hassle. In fact, you should look for it to be a smooth and simple process. 

    Consider the different ordering channels that are available through your wholesale supplier. Your ideal ordering method can be online, over the phone, or whatever is most convenient for you. 

    6. Post-Sale Services

    It’s crucial to keep in contact with customers even post-sale. This is how customers can give feedback, complaints, and new orders. Having a wholesale supplier that keeps in touch even after the order is delivered is a major bonus. This shows that they’re proactive when it comes to their customers. 

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    5 Tips for Choosing the Best Wholesale Produce Supplier

    To further avoid getting lost in the process of finding the best wholesale produce supplier for your needs, follow these tips: 

    1. Network
    2. Shop around
    3. Check the product offerings
    4. Read reviews
    5. Use a wholesale directory

    Let’s break each of these down into detail.

    Network

    Not all the best deals are online. It’s common for your competition to keep their insight on the best deals close to their chest. However, it’s beneficial to get out there and try to understand where people are purchasing their products from. This can be done through networking. 

    You can network through professional organizations and groups within your industry. Your goal is to meet people and build your network. By devoting time to creating quality relationships, you can increase your chances of obtaining insider information that can be useful for your business.

    Shop Around

    You might think that you’ve found the best wholesaler right away. However, that might not be the case. Don’t be scared to shop around and compare your findings with others out there. You might be able to get a better price or greater quality elsewhere. 

    Whether you’re searching online or communicating with others, there might be something that you haven’t explored yet. A little research can’t hurt. In fact, it might be that crucial step to finding your perfect produce wholesale supplier. 

    Check Their Product Offerings

    Be sure to check the product offerings of the wholesale supplier you’re interested in working with. Double or even triple-check that they offer all the items that you need. 

    Also, plan for the future–especially if you’re interested in expanding your business. You might be interested in selling additional products down the line.

    These new product offerings can include different vegetable sorts or exotic fruits. Be sure to also research their quality and how they’ll be grown or harvested. 

    Check to see if the supplier offers those products as well. This can help you determine whether the relationship will be beneficial long-term. 

    Read Reviews

    Even if you’re not able to make it to a trade show or communicate directly with a wholesale supplier, you’re not in the dark. In fact, you can still look up information on various wholesale suppliers online. You can do this by reading online reviews and looking into their public reputation. 

    These reviews showcase their customer service, whether they deliver products on time, and if they’re easy to work with. You may find some negative reviews, too, which is a signal to avoid that wholesaler. 

    Use A Wholesale Directory

    Many restaurants use a wholesale directory to buy wholesale produce as well as eCommerce platforms, like our own--BlueCart. This is a way for them to order the products that they need in bulk quantities. 

    BlueCart, for example, is an all-in-one order management platform that allows buyers to place their wholesale orders with ease. The buyers can place their vegetable and fruit orders, along with all their other wholesale food orders, through a single platform. 

    If you’re interested in learning more about BlueCart and its order management platform, request a demo today!

    Best Wholesale Produce Companies

    Not all wholesale produce distributors are local. In fact, you might find the ideal wholesale distributor on the other side of the country.

    Restaurants often look for wholesale distributors and this means they’ll need to find one for produce. During your search, it’s important to consider the criteria mentioned above. 

    If you’re searching for a new and reliable wholesale produce supplier, we’ve done some research for you. Here are some of the best wholesale produce supply companies: 

    Algio Produce 

    For about 20 years, Algio Produce has been in the fresh fruit and vegetable distribution industry. They’re a local purveyor of fresh and quality produce to restaurant industries located in the Tri-State area. Algio Produce works with restaurant owners and chefs to supply their kitchens with all kinds of quality produce items like vegetables, fruits, and eggs. 

    J&J Family of Farms 

    J&J Family of Farms has made a reputation for themselves as being a top-quality “first handler” when it comes to produce. They source their produce from their domestic and international network of farms.

    They have geographically diverse produce packaging and distribution centers. Aside from this, they also have full-service, large-scale, food-safe produce warehouses that they use for consolidation, packing, and delivery.

    Produce Services of Los Angeles (PSLA)

    As a family-owned wholesale produce distributor, Produce Services of Los Angeles (PSLA) strives to provide top customer service and cost-effective wholesale produce solutions. They have been serving the restaurant industry for more than 30 years while fulfilling their wholesale produce needs. 

    PSLA follows an approach that combines fresh produce with quality customer service and technology. They do this in order to offer custom buying programs for their customers’ needs. They can tailor programs to meet the needs of both small and large food establishments. 

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    Frequently Asked Questions About Where to Buy Wholesale Produce

    What Is the Definition of Wholesale Produce?

    The definition of wholesale produce is the process of purchasing fruits and vegetables in bulk from suppliers with a wholesale license. Restaurants, grocery stores, and other outlets rely on purchasing wholesale produce to replenish their inventories on a regular basis. Wholesale companies typically have a network of growers and shippers that they work with for order fulfillment and the delivery of bulk produce. 

    How Do You Choose the Best Wholesale Produce Supplier?

    To choose the best wholesale produce supplier, follow these tips: 

    • Check the supplier website: Is it updated? Does the website have the company’s contact information clearly displayed? 
    • Check the supplier’s time in business?: Longevity is important, especially in the wholesale industry. This is how you can determine if they have a proven track record of successful trades. 
    • Check online reviews: Online reviews can say a lot about a company. This is how you can gain insight into a company and its practices. This insight includes if they offer good customer service, if their products are actually fresh and of high quality, and whether they’re reliable. 
    • Look for accreditation?: This can ensure that the supplier is indeed reliable, professional, and trustworthy. 

    What Is a Wholesale Directory?

    A wholesale directory is an online catalog or list of wholesale suppliers. Their purpose is to make it easy for retailers and buyers to find wholesale suppliers to get in business with. You can connect with them if you find that their terms meet your needs. 

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