Food distribution is the transporting and storage of food and ingredients and is supported by a complex infrastructure network. Warehouses, factories, distribution companies and commercial retailers play a role in this sector. A food product can take many paths to reach the end consumer. Food is taken from its original source of production then sold to retailers, foodservice companies, and other distributors. Food may also be taken to processors and then redistributed. The distribution sector relies on flexibility and traceability to operate in an efficient manner. Government and businesses are primarily responsible for developing effective food distribution networks, however, community commitment is necessary to create an equitable and sustainable system.

Moving Food in Central New York

Food distribution’s deep historical importance in Onondaga County continues today. The construction of the Erie Canal followed by the New York State Throughway sparked an explosion of trade in agricultural products, increasing markets for Onondaga County farmers. Moving food within and outside of the county today is shaped by changes in the structure and function of food retailing, whereby many retailers operate food distribution channels. That said, CNY is home to many independent food companies that participate in the distribution sector transferring food between producers, retailers, and consumers.

We are tracking everything everyday. We are dealing with perishable product. From the time it’s harvested it’s dying. It’s all time sensitive. If my lettuce doesn’t arrive on time my agreement is done.

Food Distributor, Syracuse, NY