The Retail Dietitian
Event of the Year
Retail Dietitian Exchange gives RDs exclusive insights from the industry’s
preeminent thought leaders. Sponsorships are now open. To get involved today,
contact Jeff Friedman at firstname.lastname@example.org or (312) 506-3907.
May 20-22, 2018
available, and providers of those services say retail end
users are taking more advantage of them.
“The food supply chain does not stop at food produc-
tion, and a large segment of our business is dedicated to
grocery retailers and wholesalers,” says Owens of Ameri-
cold. “In fact, this is one of the fastest-growing segments
of our business, as retailers shift away from an outmoded,
self-distribution supply chain model to one that leverages
the flexibility of outsourcing.”
One of the most important fac-
tors in deciding who should own
cold-chain assets is the degree of
product variety that occurs at a par-
ticular point in the chain. Generally
speaking, the further down the sup-
ply chain, the more variety there is—
and therefore, the more segregation
“As you deal with perishables in
the supply chain and changes in grocery using 3PLs, it starts to further
back up supply chain in kind of diminishing levels,” says
Fay of Florida Freezer.
That’s partly why retailers who own their own delivery
fleets need more trailers per tractor than wholesalers do.
Durm estimates that a wholesaler that owns the products
it distributes, whether as private label items or bulk produce, might need 1.3 trailers for every tractor; for retailers, a more realistic ratio would be four trailers per tractor.
Fay says one advantage of using 3PLs is that they can
help coordinate delivery schedules and other issues
between retailers and their suppliers upstream—
assuming both parties want that.
“The 3PL may be functioning on behalf of the manu-
facturer, or it could be functioning on behalf of the grocer,
or it could be an intermediary between the two and it’s
actually working for both, depending on what item you’re
talking about,” Fay says. “I have manufacturers that keep
goods [in my warehouses] that are going to grocers who
are also my clients. Sometimes they use me as their inter-
mediary, and sometimes they don’t.”
Fresh food is the most demanding aspect of the cold
chain. But retailers and allied trading partners that make
the best use of the available technology and other options
will enable the chain to be strong enough to link custom-
ers to the foods they need and want most.