Grocer industry think tank IGD and Food from Britain have launched a free advisory guide to product distribution designed to help regional food and drink producers find innovative and cost effective new routes to market. 
Produced by IGD and funded by Food from Britain through Defra, Local Sourcing, Distribution Advice for Regional Food and Drink Producers, has been produced in response to producer feedback that distribution continues to be one of their key barriers to growth. It comprises a step-by-step guide to help producers understand the distribution options available to them; whether they want to service the local community with their own van, or link up with a major manufacturer to expand their distribution nationally.

The guide explains how mainstream supermarket and foodservice distribution systems work, gives advice about the various primary distribution methods available to producers, and the pros and cons of each.  It outlines the opportunities for small producers to work with larger manufacturers and logistics companies to distribute product and considers the various levels of service offered.

"In the UK we have many excellent regional food and drink products which are not enjoying their full potential because the producers don't have the know-how or resources to distribute them most efficiently or to a wider market," said IGD chief executive Joanne Denney-Finch.

"The grocery distribution business is vast and can be very complex, however there are distribution opportunities for local food producers which can help reduce distribution costs in their existing markets and give access to new markets. We hope by sharing knowledge of how the distribution business works and by highlighting some excellent initiatives that are working, we can give small producers the know-how and confidence to succeed on a larger scale," she added.