The food and beverage industry is uniquely time-sensitive. The majority of products are perishable and need to be carefully stored, transported, and placed in-store by a certain date to avoid spoiling. This leaves food and beverage (F&B) wholesalers particularly susceptible to volatile shifts in demand and subsequent out-of-stocks: exposing the rigidity – and fragility – of the food supply chain. 

In response, wholesalers have evolved from ‘just in time' to ‘just in case’ models. While this allows for more responsiveness during demand surges, when implemented within a traditional supply chain, “just in case” can also raise carrying costs and increase the risk of waste.

Drive more agility and resilience by redefining value chains 

In wholesale food and beverage, the only certainty is that nothing is certain. Consumers will continue throwing curveballs, and end-to-end costs will continue to fluctuate, driven by labor shortages, oil prices, extreme temperature swings driving up utility costs – just to name a few factors. 

Faced with the reality that there is no near-term “steady state” for wholesale, market leaders are capitalizing on the network effect of enterprise marketplace solutions to take control of their own financial destinies. With marketplaces, they’re taking a defensive approach by pushing risk upstream to the third-party sellers that hold inventory and fulfill orders. These marketplaces also put wholesalers on the offensive: they’re looking opportunistically at the challenges facing the industry today, applying their existing resources and expertise in new ways, and ultimately unlocking new sources of profitable growth. 

Turner Price is breaking down traditional wholesale barriers 

Turner Price is a food and beverage wholesaler serving more than 1,200 high-spend catering customers throughout the UK. Faced with customers’ evolving expectations and demand for broader assortment, Turner Price knew that they had to respond – but they also needed to balance these expectations with the need to remain profitable. 

To achieve both objectives, rather than investing in more trucks, more distribution centers, and more stock, Turner Price launched an enterprise marketplace to expand its online assortment through third-party sellers. With this approach, they have been able to expand across more categories and suppliers without the risk or cost of investing in more inventory. 

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With the marketplace, as more restaurants adapt their menus to offer sustainable, locally sourced items, Turner Price is leveraging third-party sellers to offer fresh products from local sellers, enabling their customers to buy everything they need in one place. They’re also expanding into the higher-margin categories that are most relevant to their customers, enabling them to meet their broader, end-to-end needs without the warehouse constraints or disruption to their existing supply chain. 

“The paradigm is changing for food and beverage wholesalers," says Julian Owen, Director of Sales and Marketing, Turner Price. "With the traditional model, you’re limiting what you can offer your customers by having four physical walls. With an online marketplace, you’re breaking down those barriers and giving your customers everything they need all in one place so that they can do their job faster and easier.”

METRO is leveraging its marketplace to deliver solutions, not just products   

METRO France has long-standing relationships with many of its customers and has developed a deep understanding of their needs. They realized early on that by building a partner ecosystem with access to a wide array of third-party sellers, they would be able to give their customers more. METRO’s marketplace simplifies the purchasing process for their customers, delivering end-to-end solutions that include everything from food and beverage to non-food and relevant services – in short, everything required by the businesses they serve. 

METRO France is leveraging their marketplace to help its customers do their jobs better, faster, and easier while creating new sources of growth for their own business. With the marketplace, METRO is selling appliances – plus installation plus maintenance and repair. They are connecting customers with experts in kitchen redesign, digital menu and website development, online booking tools, and more. METRO France is redefining what it means to be an F&B wholesaler. 

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“We launched our marketplace in order to enlarge our assortment, to have good time to market, and to answer all of our customers’ needs,” adds Sylvain Bozoc, Head of eCommerce and Marketplace, METRO France.

Redefine what it means to be a food and beverage wholesaler 

Where there’s disruption, there’s opportunity. Turner Price and METRO France are seizing that opportunity – leveraging their marketplaces to test and learn, and leaning into the offerings that bring them (and their customers) the greatest value. Are you ready to do the same? Contact the Mirakl Team today to kick-start your marketplace journey. 

Angela Troccoli

Written by Angela Troccoli

Senior Director Product Marketing, Global B2B at Mirakl

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