Wholesale Canned Goods: What They Are and Who Buys Them

Nick Mirev
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    Cans are one of the popular types of packaging in the food and beverage industry. When used for drinks, they have multiple advantages compared to plastic and glass bottles. Food stored in cans can easily be pasteurized. The prolonged shelf life of canned goods makes them a great option for both households and businesses. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the wholesale canned goods industry. We’ll share more about the common types of canned food, what businesses buy these goods in bulk, and the trends in the canned food industry. Make sure to also check our articles on other food preservation methods such as freeze-dried vs dehydrated and wholesale preserves.

    Key takeaway: Wholesale canned goods are a well-established niche market within the food industry. Businesses that buy these products in bulk include retailers, grocery stores, and institutions. The prolonged shelf life and convenient packaging make canner products a popular choice for households and companies.
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    Who Buys Wholesale Canned Goods

    Canned food businesses sell their products to various other companies. Sales of wholesale canned goods are primarily B2B and rarely D2C. Let’s examine some of the businesses that buy large quantities of canned goods.

    Retailers and Grocery Stores

    Grocery and convenience stores order a large variety of wholesale canned goods as these products can often be found on store shelves. Stores often sell canned goods with their own brands as well. These products are usually private-labeled meaning they are manufactured by another company.

    Food Service Businesses

    There are multiple canned food recipes that can be found in restaurants and other food service establishments. Not all restaurants purchase wholesale canned goods as they might differ in taste compared to fresh ones. By purchasing wholesale canned goods, food service businesses can reduce costs when these ingredients are out of season and their prices are high.


    Hospitals and schools are also common business buyers in the canned food industry. These institutions benefit from wholesale prices when buying canned food. The convenience of these products and their prolonged shelf life are the main reasons why institutions purchase them in bulk. Military bases also stock wholesale canned goods. In fact, one of the first applications of canning was for military purposes.

    Online Retailers

    As online sales are on the rise, eCommerce retailers sell virtually everything that can be found in a brick-and-mortar store. Canned food makes no difference in that regard. Online stores might buy wholesale canned goods at discounted rates and sell them at retail prices. Some specialized stores like hiking stores also sell canned goods as they are common among their customers.

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    Most Common Types of Canned Goods

    Canning is a popular preservation method for a variety of products. That’s why there are many categories of canned goods that can be found on the market. Let’s dive a little deeper into the main ones.

    1. Vegetables. Tomatoes, corn, and peas are often used as ingredients in dishes but they are not always in season. That’s why, instead of buying them at higher prices when they’re out of season, households and businesses prefer to purchase canned vegetables. Keep in mind that when comparing canned vegetables vs fresh ones, there might be differences in taste and vitamin content.
    2. Fruits. Peaches, pears, and pineapple are commonly canned fruits. They can be consumed directly or used for salads, desserts, and fruit cocktails.
    3. Legumes and pulses. Kidney beans and lentils are among the commonly canned legumes. Businesses buy wholesale chickpeas, beans, peas, and other legumes and use them for salads, soups, and other dishes.
    4. Meat and seafood. Preservation of meat is also possible thanks to canning and other food preservation methods. Canned meat can be consumed directly or used in dishes.
    5. Sauces and condiments. Olives, jalapenos, or salsa are often stored in cans or jars.
    6. Dairy products and dairy-free alternatives. Coconut milk, condensed milk, and other dairy products can be canned in order to increase their shelf life.
    7. Ready-to-eat meals. Soups and other ready-to-eat meals are also common canned goods. They are convenient and have a prolonged shelf life. It’s also common for people to cook large meals and preserve part of it for the future.

    Tips for Distributors of Wholesale Canned Goods

    BlueCart has helped many suppliers with tips and useful articles. Allow us to share some helpful tips that might help you develop your wholesale canned goods business.

    1. Invest in automation. There are multiple innovations in the field of wholesale business software. From wholesale inventory management solutions to wholesale ordering software, there are multiple options for distributors to streamline their business processes through software.
    2. Be flexible. In an increasingly intertwined economy, flexibility can be a great competitive advantage. Whether it’s flexibility with minimum order quantities (MOQ) or with fast deliveries, having a reliable and flexible distribution partner is a top priority for businesses.
    3. Expand and scale. Wholesale distribution businesses often specialize in certain product categories. However, expanding the catalogs can be the road to success for wholesalers. It will open your business to new potential customers and make it easier to sell to clients who are looking for a one-stop shop when choosing a distributor.
    4. Adapt to market demands. The economy is constantly changing thanks to technological advancements and innovations. This means businesses in the wholesale canned goods industry need to answer the demand for new products or solutions. In the field of food preservation, trends like locally sourced and organic products or freeze-drying are expected to change the market.
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    Frequently Asked Questions about Wholesale Canned Goods

    Our team has gathered some commonly asked questions regarding canned products. Check out their answers below.

    How to Start a Canning Food Business from Home?

    If you enjoy making food preserves, you can turn that into a profitable business. Here are the steps to do so.

    1. Research the laws and regulations. Cottage food laws are different in every state. Make sure to investigate whether you can sell homemade canned food.
    2. Explore the market. Research what are the most popular canned foods that can be sold and at what prices. Also, make sure to explore the potential places to sell your home canning products.
    3. Find suppliers. Even if you grow fruits and vegetables, you still need suppliers of cans, and other goods needed to make bulk canned food.
    4. Explore different distribution channels and market your products. When planning how to scale the business, consider partnering with co-manufacturing companies, third-party marketplaces, or 3PL service providers.

    How Big is the Canned Food Industry?

    The size of the global canned food market is about USD 100 billion. In terms of growth, this industry doesn’t show large surges. Instead, it’s steadily growing by 1-2 percent annually. Although many consumers raise concerns about the usage of preservatives, canned goods are still part of their daily lives. One of the main restraints for the canned food industry is that other preservation methods become popular as well. Freeze-drying food is a good example of a preservation method that’s growing in popularity.

    The canned food industry has different branches. Fruits and vegetables are the main food groups that are preserved in cans. Meat, seafood, and ready-to-eat meals are another branch. 

    What Are the Benefits of Canned Food?

    The main reason why canned goods have been popular for decades is that they extend the shelf life of food. Furthermore, canned food also preserves the flavor and the nutritional value of products.

    Another benefit of canned food is that it’s a cheap way to eat fruits and vegetables all year round. When these products are out of season, their prices increase substantially. Instead of paying significantly more to produce distributors and retailers, preserve food at home or incorporate canned foods in your restaurant or another business.

    Another benefit of cans is that they are durable and easy to store. Unlike glass, they also protect products from exposure to light.

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