8 Facts About Food Purchasers or Buyers

Think about the last time you put together a recipe for salsa. This recipe likely involved a combination of tomatoes, onions, jalapenos and cilantro and it is even more likely that your purchased all of your ingredients from one store. So where do manufactures go when they need ingredients from various vendors on a large scale?

Well this question can be answered by food purchasers through their ability to source and negotiate raw materials for food manufacturing. Today FoodGrads is giving you the facts about Food Purchasers and how they play an important role in food production.

1. Food Purchasers are responsible for purchasing

Food purchasers are individuals responsible for:

purchasing raw materials and other supplies that will be used in the manufacturing of products. They use their expert knowledge to build and maintain strategic relationships with key suppliers and obtain the most favourable price for supplies. Furthermore, they develop inventory management policies and procedures to ensure that an adequate amount of materials are always available for production. They set up blanket orders and contracts for the sourcing of materials.

Overall, food purchasers are important because they obtain the contracts for raw materials needed for manufacturing. It is their job to negotiate prices with suppliers to ensure products are produced at a lower price

2. Food Purchasers are good at research

There are many different places one can obtain a raw ingredient such as carrots. Some vendors are located locally while others can be found across seas. Food purchasers maintain market intelligence and research where the best sources of ingredients are. They follow industry news to forecast potential problem areas which could potentially affect pricing levels. Finally, they research which vendors produce the best quality ingredients and their market prices.

3. Food Purchasers negotiate

Negotiation is the core task of any food purchasing job. Food purchasers negotiate contracts with vendors in order to obtain the highest quality product for the lowest possible price. They follow up on contracts to ensure that product quality and delivery times match the  agreed upon negotiation. Food purchasers help to ensure that food costs say low.

4. Food Purchasers work on multiple projects simultaneously

It is typical for food companies to produce multiple products with multiple ingredients. That is why food purchasers have to be comfortable with working on multiple projects at once. They are responsible for setting contracts for a variety of different products. For example, they might be researching potential kale vendors while negotiating the price canola oil.  Staying organized is the only way a food purchaser is able to achieve this.

5. Food Purchasers have business related degrees 

Due to the business-like nature of food purchasing it is typical for food purchasers to have bachelors degrees in business related programs like supply chain management, financing  and administration. Some food purchasers have college degrees in purchasing. For example, Conestoga in Ontario offers a two year Buisness-Purchasing diploma. Some companies with in the food industry, even employ students with post secondary degrees in nutrition or agricultural fields.  However, this is field which highly values experience.

6. Food Purchasers need to handle stress

Negotiating contracts with multiple vendors can be a stressful job. Food purchasers are constantly looking for the best deals available and can experience applied stress from their company looking to get the lowest possible price. If you are unable to handle stress well this might not be the most suitable position for you.

7. Food Purchasers analyze people and situations

Food purchasers need to be able to assess situations and people. These assessments allow purchasers to a forecast future trends and negotiate the best deals. As you gain more experience, these skills will become more natural as your knowledge of the industry will solidify.

8. Food Purchasers have these skills

  • Organized- Individuals in this profession need to work on multiple project simultaneously.  The only way to manage all these projects with out getting too stressed is by staying organized. Food purchasers are able to pull up any piece of information when needed because they are organized.
  • Interpersonal skills- Food purchasers communicate constantly with outside vendors in order to develop contracts and deals.  Interpersonal skills like listening, decision-making and verbal communication have to be strong as food purchaser perform these transactions constantly.
  • Communication skills– Food purchasers are constantly on the phone, in meetings or emailing individuals in their company and outside too. They need to have strong communication skills because it ensures that business moves forward properly. For example, when they are negotiating a deal they need to communicate properly how much of product they are willing to purchase. If they do not this could lead to problems down the road.

Author: Veronica Hislop – Veronica is a Chemistry student studying at Ryerson University and loves looking at the science in the kitchen. She is currently on a path to find her place in the food manufacturing industry. When Veronica is taking a break from her food endeavors you will find her at home reading a great novel and playing with her cats.


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