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Amazon and Data: Strategies to help food service distributors stay ahead

November 12, 2018 by FoodBAM Admin

At FoodBAM, we like to stay on top of not only food service news, but trends and big players in the technology industry. That’s why when we read this recent article on the growing threat of Amazon to the meat and general foodservice distribution industry our ears perked up. In summary, the article details the growing presence of Amazon in food distribution and how their excellent logistics makes them a natural competitor for distributors in the food service space. The article suggests you may have already heard of Amazon doing such deliveries for mom and pop restaurants in rural to city areas quickly with reliable freight charges and no minimums. Then the author, Janette Barnard, poses the big question, “You may have heard examples of this happening already with dry goods, but what happens when Amazon figures out the meat supply chain and starts competing directly with distributors?” The article ends by suggesting three ways distributors may take charge of building their defensible advantages in case Amazon moves to be a real threat. At FoodBAM, this got us thinking too.

We’ve said for years, Amazon is growing foodservice share by accident. Problem is, it’s not really by accident—we believe it’s totally calculated.  The foodservice industry and distributors need to step out of their comfort zones and get ahead of the technology and data wave—what can we do to step aid distributors and the foodservice industry stay competitive in this growing data focused world?

While the thought of Amazon entering foodservice can be unsettling for distributors, there are steps we believe distributors can take now to defend against Amazon or any other company that seeks to disrupt their market.


  1. Deliver personalized buying experiences online and through sales representatives.
  2. Be more transparent with pricing.
  3. Leverage big data, machine learning, and dynamic pricing science to send the right offer at the right price.
  4. Make purchasing easy and frictionless by creating seamless and convenient user experiences.
  5. Create multiple points of contact that allow customers to buy in the manner they prefer.
  6. Develop mobile-friendly purchasing sites and apps.
  7. Respond in real-time with instant pricing approvals.
  8. Respond to constantly changing supply chain dynamics and market movements in real time to ensure customers receive the full, expected value from products.

Whether Amazon’s presence in foodservice grows or not, this is the time for industry trading partners to explore modern commerce and dynamic pricing strategies. It’s time to adopt modern commerce in your B2B efforts. Eventually, some major player or a new startup will develop a user experience that brings frictionless, customer-friendly, personalized buying experiences to foodservice

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