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Kechie Distribution Management efficiently manages internal and external resources. Suited for growing businesses, the management tools provide control of replenishment, warehouse management, pick, pack, and ship, procurement, pro...Read more about Kechie

4.6 (36 reviews)

7 recommendations

Accolent ERP

Accolent ERP is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) and enterprise resource management (ERM) software suite designed for businesses in wholesale distribution, process manufacturing and assembly, and services companies. Accolent ...Read more about Accolent ERP

4.4 (9 reviews)

6 recommendations


NECS entrée is an on-premise ERP solution designed explicitly for food distributors. It offers functionality for inventory management, truck routing, sales management and reporting, and is suitable for both full-line distributors,...Read more about Entree

4.5 (13 reviews)

2 recommendations


Meet CharityTracker, the approachable and affordable CRM solution for organizations that lets you focus on your clients to measure real-world impact, not just data. We’ll help you generate meaningful data and collaborative partner...Read more about CharityTracker

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Fishbowl is the #1 manufacturing and warehouse inventory management software! Its powerful inventory control system gives your small or midsize business the exact tools needed to transform your inventory management and scale your ...Read more about Fishbowl

Epos Now

Epos Now POS systems are an effective business management, sales, and payment solution for single-site, multi-site, and online businesses. Popular with retailers and hospitality businesses in many industries, Epos Now POS systems ...Read more about Epos Now


ERPAG is a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. It is suitable for small and midsize businesses in various industries, including automobile, retail, education, information technology and more. Primary features ...Read more about ERPAG


Gofrugal POS is a hybrid point of sale (POS) solution that helps retailers across various industries, to manage their distribution and billing routines and automate financial transactions. The solution can be deployed either on-pr...Read more about GoFrugal


OptimoRoute helps field service and delivery businesses provide stand-out service. Using sophisticated algorithms, OptimoRoute plans and optimizes routes in a matter of seconds. Underneath a simple interface, there is an endles...Read more about OptimoRoute

Oasis Insight

OASIS INSIGHT is a web-based food pantry management software. The software is designed for food banks, food pantries, and meal programs. OASIS INSIGHT offers several key features to help organizations efficiently manage operatio...Read more about Oasis Insight


MarketMan Restaurant Management is a cloud-based inventory management platform that assists small to large-sized restaurants with procurement, food delivery tracking, and accounting. Its key features include menu planning, budgeti...Read more about Marketman


ServiceWorks is a cloud-based solution that helps businesses manage field employees and service delivery operations. Key features include inventory management, route optimization, customer feedback, alerts/notifications, data stor...Read more about ServiceWorks


Tookan is a cloud-based delivery management solution that helps delivery businesses manage fleets and automate dispatching operations. It lets users assign tasks to delivery agents as per their schedules and track the live locatio...Read more about Tookan


ChefMod is a cloud-based system which is designed for small restaurants. It is a suite of the latest tools for vendor management, timely inventory ordering and receiving. These tools are easily accessible from the user's mobile ph...Read more about ChefMod


SafetyChain's digital plant management platform gives process manufacturers the flexibility to rapidly address urgent challenges while offering scalability to expand and drive long-term value. • Gain visibility and control of qua...Read more about SafetyChain

Order Time Inventory

Order Time Inventory is an inventory control and order management solution. It is cloud-based and integrates with QuickBooks Enterprise, QuickBooks Desktop or QuickBooks Online for Accounting. It natively integrates with Shopify, ...Read more about Order Time Inventory


Detrack is a robust delivery management software that offers real-time vehicle tracking through a live map and seamless electronic proof of delivery (E-POD) using our user-friendly iOS and Android apps. With availability in 26 lan...Read more about Detrack

Mountain Stream Bakery Software

Mountain Stream helps wholesale bakeries worldwide with a platform that streamlines online ordering, production and distribution. The solution includes full import and export capabilities to synchronize data with systems such as Q...Read more about Mountain Stream Bakery Software


Designed for small to large businesses, RouteLogic is a cloud-based route-planning software that calculates your optimal routes in seconds. With intelligent route planning capabilities, RouteLogic helps businesses create the best ...Read more about RouteLogic


BlueCart offers a cloud-based wholesale procurement solution for buyers in the hospitality industry. The solution is suitable for restaurants, food chains, cafes and hotels of all sizes. It enables restaurant owners to send orders...Read more about BlueCart

Buyers Guide

Last Updated: March 16, 2023

The wholesale food distribution industry presents a variety of unique challenges, particularly regarding transportation, supply chain traceability and storage requirements. Frozen food distributors face concerns that are entirely different from those encountered by fresh produce or seafood distributors, and full-line food service distributors may face virtually all of those concerns.

For this reason, highly specialized solutions have evolved in this market niche. Software that works for a distributor of snack foods may not work for a distributor of fresh foods. We’ll look at the different types of solutions on the market to help you make an informed decision.

Here's what we'll cover:

What Is Food Distribution Software?

Common Features of Food Distribution Software

Evaluating Food Distribution Software

What Is Food Distribution Software?

Food distributors don’t just use one type of application in the back office—they use many. As such, the term “food distribution software” isn’t so much a name for a software category as it is for a diverse group of applications that assist with everything from ingredient costing (for food distributors that are also involved in manufacturing) to dynamic expiration date calculations based on data from sensors installed in refrigerated trucks.

Essentially, software applications for food distributors fall into the categories of supply chain management (SCM) software. Food distributors have the option of purchasing standalone applications for different supply chain needs, or investing in an ERP system, which includes various SCM applications along with other standard business applications like CRM and HR modules.

In particular, food distributors should consider investing in a distribution ERP system. ERP vendors have specialized their solutions around a variety of industry verticals, e.g., manufacturing and retail. Distribution ERP systems are pared-down solutions that eliminate modules distributors won’t need while adding flexibility in areas like order management and warehouse management.

Moreover, food distributors in industries dealing with fresh and highly perishable foods should examine ERP systems focusing on food traceability, i.e., tracking inventory as it moves from one link in the supply chain to the next.

These systems ensure that your inventory can be tracked upstream, back to your own suppliers, and downstream to the retailers’ shelves where it ends up. The FDA mandates that you at least be able to track inventory one link up or down in the chain in the case of a recall, but end-to-end traceability can inspire consumer confidence and help with damage control in a devastating recall scenario.

We provide a more thorough explanation of the technological requirements for and benefits of supply chain traceability in our report on lot tracking with distribution ERP systems.

Companies focused on the consumer packaged goods industry might be interested in exploring CPG software options.

Common Features of Food Distribution Software

The supply chain applications with which food distributors should be particularly concerned are warehouse management, transportation management and order management.

Food distributors should look for these features when evaluating SCM applications or ERP suites:

Lot number tracking

A food inventory management system includes lot tracking, which can integrate with barcode scanning or radio frequency identification (RFID) implementations to note when and where certain items were delivered, which will be particularly useful during a recall.

Expiration date tracking

Solutions appropriate for food distributors should include the ability to track expiration dates and also to associate expiration dates with lot codes.


“First-expired, first-out” (FEFO) and “First-in, first-out” (FIFO) are two inventory rotation methodologies commonly used in food distribution. FEFO means that products closest to expiration are rotated out of inventory first, and FIFO means that products received first are rotated out first. Both are useful in food service, with FEFO being more accurate on average. Make sure that your warehouse and/or inventory management system supports these methodologies for inventory rotation, since they’re also used for accounting. For instance, a WMS can use FEFO to direct order picking.

Refrigerated zones/bulk storage etc. for warehouse slotting

Food warehouses are set up differently from normal warehouses, so you’ll need flexibility when it comes to slotting (i.e., defining where inventory will be stored in your warehouse). In particular, look for features like bulk storage and refrigerated zones.

Catch weight management

Since weight and quantities vary tremendously, a food distribution program needs the ability to track the weights of meat and produce throughout the delivery and distributor cycle and tie those to the ordering and accounting systems.

Delivery management

Delivery management modules offer intelligent routing procedures that result in faster delivery times. Distributors also need to incorporate special transportation requirements, including refrigeration and handling care.

Ingredient traceability

Businesses involved in the manufacturing as well as the distribution of food will need capabilities to track the ingredients that make it into products as well as the finished products themselves. Such systems are still quite specialized, and are largely the province of niche vendors.

As part of a broader enterprise resource planning (ERP) suite, top food distribution software can also oversee the general ledger and accounts receivable, providing real-time reports of order entry, purchasing and pricing levels. As we’ve seen, an ERP system will also be necessary to ensure end-to-end traceability with regard to lot numbers, expiration dates etc.

The FDA is currently at work on defining traceability standards across the food industry, so now is the time to get a jump start on competitors by investing in an ERP system up to the challenge.

Evaluating Food Distribution Software

Like most industries, food distribution has been directly affected by globalization and economies of scale, not to mention environmental concerns. So although international exporting and importing in today's advanced systems is easier than it ever has been, a trend toward “locally sourced” operations has encouraged more organizations to shift into these arenas. Food distributor software provides businesses with the advanced functionality needed to manage the specific complications of international distribution networks—as well as more effectively reorganize through decentralization and the growth of regional food hubs.

Regional operations can particularly benefit from the ability of automated systems to help with increasingly complex tasks. Since these systems are expensive and the market is highly competitive, new products are seeking to capture business from smaller sources, offering specific functionality at more affordable prices.

Specific questions to ask when evaluating food distribution ERP software include:

  • Do you need an on-premise client/server deployment, or are you looking for a cloud deployment?

  • Will you need a system that offers reverse logistics for returns management?

  • Can the system manage the unique regulatory compliance for your particular market?

  • If your organization distributes to manufacturers, will the system provide the necessary kitting and assembly functionality?

  • Are you involved in manufacturing as well as distribution? If so, what level of ingredient traceability do you need from your solution?