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QSR Feature
Small Players, Big Opportunities

Most independent regional distributors compete effectively against national companies by joining purchasing and marketing groups that provide services on behalf of all their members. These are the most prominent of those groups.

Distribution Market Advantage

HQ: Schaumburg, Illinois

Aggregate Member Sales: $16.1B (in 2008)

Service areas: Continental U.S., Canada

DMA is a national foodservice distribution system whose shareholders are prominent regional foodservice distributors. They join forces to provide operators with the pricing, distribution, and technological advantages of a national organization and the service priority of a local business. Program management and reporting tools allow them to reduce costs throughout the supply chain and provide services in contract management, business intelligence, systems integration, freight, and logistics.

Independent Marketing Alliance

HQ: Houston, Texas

Aggregate member Sales: In excess of $10B

Service areas: U.S.

IMA is the procurement and marketing facilitator for six strong regional broadline distributors. Unlike other groups, IMA is not a traditional buying group or a corporate distributor. Rather, it combines its members’ purchasing volumes and supports shared marketing programs to promote member growth. IMA’s members also belong to DMA. The members have 41 distribution centers and all focus on multiunit sales.

Tailor Made Distribution

HQ: Cumming, Georgia

Aggregate member sales: $2.5B

Service areas: U.S., Caribbean, Canada

Tailor Made is a supply chain–management company owned by independent distributors. The group offers a single point of contact for multiunit operators with local service and response. It engages in programs with members as well as nonmember affiliates to provide service primarily to emerging and regional chains.

UniPro Foodservice Multi-Unit Group (MUG)

HQ: Atlanta, Georgia

Aggregate member sales: $4B

Service areas: 535 distribution centers in the U.S.

UniPro Foodservice is the largest purchasing and marketing group for individual broadline distributors. Last year, it merged with Progressive Group Alliance, formerly the second largest distributor group. UniPro’s Multi-Unit Group (mug) is a network of locally owned distributors serving multiunit operators with a single source of supply (including small wares, fresh produce, and paper products). These distributors are some of the largest independents in the nation.


Markon Cooperative

HQ: Salinas, California

Aggregate Member Sales: $14B

Service area: 44 distribution centers in the U.S., Canada

Markon, founded in 1985, was the first distributor purchasing group to specialize in fresh produce. It handles produce purchasing, marketing, and logistics for 10 regional broadline distributors and a produce specialist based in California. Markon offers multiunit customers consistent, high-quality produce, food-safety assurance, and sales-reporting services.


HQ: Monterey, California

Aggregate Member Sales: Unavailable

Service area: 70 distribution centers in the U.S.

Pro*Act is a fresh-produce-purchasing and marketing group. It was formed in 1990 by six independent distributors who wanted to achieve a competitive advantage from consolidated purchasing and collective marketing. Its 45 distributors specialize in fresh produce. Pro*Act focuses on serving multiunit operators on a national and local basis and purchases produce from selected growers and ships it to its 47 distributor members. The organization offers a suite of support solutions on a Web-based platform, including item analysis, market updates, and regional-training seminars.

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