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Food supplies and surplus food

The key to buying food stuff is negotiating with suppliers to purchase the goods you want at a good price. As a buyer it is your responsibility to shop around to find the best quality for your customers. This can be a challenge when buying perishable products such as fruit and vegetables.

Buying gets a lot easier when you have built up a list of suppliers which you can switch between. If you order in bulk you can often negotiate free delivery, which means you can consider suppliers further afield.

Many community food initiatives link with surplus food redistributors or use food sharing apps to reduce costs of buying perishable foods and/or to address the issue of food waste.

Where to find suppliers

Fruit and vegetable wholesalers

There are two main fruit and vegetable wholesalers which supply Scotland.

Their vans set off early every morning with fresh produce to retailers, processors and restaurants across Scotland. You don’t have to place a bulk order to use wholesale markets but you do have to be prepared to deal with suppliers who will prioritise the largest order that day.

Local producers

Here are some ideas for rooting out locally produced food supplies in your area:


Cash-and-carries can offer lower prices on many lines – see ‘Resources’ below to find your nearest one. You could also ask other local businesses in your area who they use. To make a purchase you may be asked to become a member or purchase a minimum amount.

Community Food Initiatives

Larger community food initiatives may even be able to supply you with food, for example:

Wholefood co-operatives

If you’re looking for ethical and wholefoods, try a wholefood co-operative:

Surplus food suppliers

Surplus food from the food industry, supermarkets and catering establishments can be accessed through:

You could also contact local farmers and food producers and ask for any surplus.

Models for sharing surplus food locally