The FSAA 2021 Benchmarking Survey Highlights

24th March 2022


In late 2021, the FSAA initiated an industry first foodservice supplier Benchmarking Survey.  We had an encouraging response from our members and other industry suppliers.

The results came in during the month of March. During this month we shared the highlights of the report with our guests at our FSAA breakfasts and in our March Webinar.

In this article we are sharing just some of the insights and what we feel would be of interest.

The purpose of The FSAA Benchmarking Survey

This is the first such initiative in the supply side of the foodservice market. It is designed to establish a solid foundation to draw out otherwise unavailable data to benefit the entire industry. As the process evolves, we will build a comprehensive picture of the supply side of the foodservice market. Benchmarking allows businesses to determine where they sit   in relation to business alike and industry averages over time.


The Survey

The survey was sent to the FSAA membership base as well as a broader contact list of relevant businesses with an invitation to participate. This was a 15-20 minute survey consisting of 60 questions encompassing business expectations, costs, staffing & recruitment, sales practices, marketing practices and digital aspects. All responses were kept completely confidential and non-traceable.


The Response

Response rate and the breakdown of respondents were the main limitations of this inaugural survey.

  • Most prominent category was food (51.67%)
  • followed by food and grocery distribution (25%)
  • then by commercial equipment distribution (20%)
  • 33% of respondents indicated theirs was a foodservice-exclusive business.


Business Profile

  • 90% of respondents view foodservice as a genuine career opportunity within their
  • Majority of businesses were nationally represented, and most were private
  • 67% of respondents indicated their business’ annual turnover was +$50M with only 6.67% with a turnover under $1M.



Responses to questions relating:


Business Expectation

90.74% of respondents anticipated an increase in sales over the next 12 months. Responses were more conservative with regard to profitability. Unsurprisingly the impacts of COVID-19 were a major concern. Supply chain issues were cited as the most pressing business impact of COVID-19, as well as locating qualified staff.


Business Costs

Discounts, trading terms and selling costs  as  a percentage of sales were 15% or higher for the majority of respondents. Marketing costs as a percentage of sales comprised only 3% or less for the majority of respondents. The majority of respondents listed net profit at 15% or more as a percentage of sales.


Staffing, training & recruitment

Many respondents reported considerable difficulty in finding qualified staff. Staff turnover was fairly stable over the last financial year. 87.5% of respondents reported staff attrition rates of 5% or less. Online platforms considered the most efficient means of recruitment. Word of mouth a close second.


Sales Practices

Relationships considered the most important aspect of a salesperson, followed by knowledge & credibility. Majority of respondents held weekly sales meetings. Majority indicated salespeople devoted equal focus to both distributor & end-user channels. 81.25% of respondent businesses offered bonus incentives to sales staff.


Market Practices

Majority employed staff specifically for marketing roles. Most between 1-3 people.1 to 3% of marketing budget was allocated for advertising and promotion. Most popular tool was social media at 78.72% 63.83% of respondents had an active new product development program in place.


Digital Aspects

78.2% of respondents had a digital strategy in place for the future. Online/downloadable sales catalogues and website links to distributors stocking product were seen as most valuable. 78.72% of respondents rated digital aspects as very important. A preference for personal interaction perhaps explains a slower embrace of digital aspects.


We sincerely thank all those that participated in this year’s survey.

We look forward to the results of the future FSAA Industry Benchmarking Surveys, where insights will be able to be measured year upon year. The purpose of which will be to create invaluable data for our members and the greater industry to assess their best practice within their respective organisations and enable meaningful change for the better.

Members of FSAA can access the full report via the member portal here


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