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A new study of the U.S. foodservice distribution industry shows an impact on the U.S. economy and its physical footprint.

Foodservice distribution makes $482B impact to U.S. economy

New study also finds an engaged workforce of 918,000 people


  • Foodservice distributors engage a total workforce of 918,000 people
  • The total economic impact of foodservice distributors is $482 billion
  • FDA estimates there are 17,100 foodservice distribution center locations in the U.S.

A new study of the U.S. foodservice distribution industry shows an impact on the U.S. economy and its physical footprint. Industry sales of $382 billion in 17,100 distribution locations (employing 431,000 people) were reported in the industry.

“Foodservice distributors source, warehouse, sell, and deliver ingredients and supplies to professional kitchens in every corner of the country, with operations in all 50 states,” said Mark Allen, president and CEO of IFDA.

Of the 431,000 people employed, 31% are delivery drivers, 42% are warehouse team members, 11% are sales professionals, and the remaining 16% comprise other positions (like HR, administrative, culinary, and executives). Foodservice distribution employees make up about 7% of all wholesale jobs in the U.S. 

The study also found that food donated to charitable organizations and disaster relief by foodservice distributors has an estimated value of $331 million (or the equivalent of feeding 27,000 families for one year). Also, more than 95% of foodservice distributors participate in charitable activities.

Additionally, the study found that foodservice distributors operate a combined fleet of  168,300 vehicles, traveling 4.3 billion miles annually to deliver 12 billion cases of food, beverage, and other products to professional kitchens in all 50 states. This equates to 33 million cases delivered per day.

About the survey

In 2023, the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA) conducted a comprehensive economic impact study of the foodservice distribution industry in the U.S.. The study included data from an IFDA-conducted primary survey of foodservice distributors, previous IFDA research, IMPLAN economic modeling, government sources, and other public sources for the 2022 operating year. The study includes national and state-by-state data.

Measuring the physical footprint and economic impact, the study quantifies the full impact the industry has on the national and state economies. The U.S. foodservice distribution industry delivers ingredients and supplies to professional kitchens in all 50 states, from independent and chain restaurants to healthcare facilities and schools. The IFDA is a trade organization representing the $382 billion foodservice distribution industry. 


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