The U.S. food marketing system links farms to consumers via food manufacturing, wholesaling, and retailing (food stores and food service facilities).

Food wholesaling consists of that part of food marketing in which goods are assembled, stored, and transported to retailers, food service operators, other wholesalers, government, and other types of businesses. The retail food industry has changed significantly over the past 2 decades, as warehouse club stores, drugstores, and other nontraditional food stores have increased their shares of food sales. Changes in consumer food choices are reflected in food retailing, including the introduction of new products to meet new consumer demands. 

ERS conducts research on:

  • trends in wholesale sales by type of outlets, wholesalers, and products;
  • sales and sales growth of traditional and nontraditional retail food stores;
  • retail industry competition and organization;
  • trends and developments in various types of food stores; and
  • public policy topics such as access to affordable and nutritious food and the development of local food systems.