FAQs for customers
Have a question and need some help? Check out some of our most frequently asked questions below.
You can also view our Terms and Conditions for the supply of products for more information.
If you still can’t find the answer you’re looking for, contact us and we'll be happy to help.
How is Collectiv Food different from other suppliers?
We exist to bring transparency, fairness and sustainability into the B2B food supply chain. There are a few ways we are different:
- We strive to source directly from food producers and farms, cutting out any middle men
- We use an innovative logistics model to get products to customers faster and fresher than other suppliers
- We are tech-driven, with half of our staff made up of the technology team, and are building best-in-class tools to support our customers
- We have a very proactive customer service team, which reacts quickly to changes in requirements and to resolve issues
How is Collectiv Food different from procurement consultancies?
We own our supply chain and logistics, taking title of products at the source and handling all deliveries from the producer through to the customer. We will do the work of a typical procurement consultancy but we will do it free of charge. We only ask that, in return, you provide fair feedback on the products and the service, and - if you like the samples you receive - you start to buy through us from our producer partners, who work really hard to meet your requirements.
How does the service work exactly?
The process we typically run through is as follows:
- We will spend some time understanding your operation and food preferences.
- We will work with you to gather all your product specifications, including volumes, price targets and provenance requirements.
- We’ll identify the best possible options for you from our global network of vetted producers. Pick the products you’d like to sample, and we’ll get them delivered.
- Once approved, leave the rest to us. We’ll buy the products on your behalf, and deliver them where you need them, when you need them.
What kind of products can I buy?
We specialise in sourcing proteins (meat, seafood, and plant-based). In each of these categories, we have a wide range of products available from within our network of producers. For customers that are trading with us on these lines, we can potentially source other products such as dairy, eggs, desserts and beverages, to try and help you consolidate your basket as much as possible. Find more information about our products and how to request samples.
We aim to only work with food producers who produce, process, rear or grow their own products, or add value to products from other producers. We also look for producers who demonstrate a desire to produce quality products (always with external validation and certification).
Will I receive options to help me choose the product (s) I want?
Yes, definitely. By leveraging our market expertise, we’re happy to discuss and present alternative options based on different factors such as provenance and delivery methods. Once you’ve shortlisted the products you’re interested in, we will arrange samples for you to test in your kitchen.
Is there any quality control?
We quality-check all our producers and make sure they meet our standards. When sourcing products for our customers, we look for the following:
- Producers who add value to the products they sell, whether through farming, processing and/ or manufacturing.
- Have the ability to provide records on full product traceability and safety in accordance with one or more Global Food Safety Initiative recognised standard schemes, including BRC, IFS, SQF, FSSC 22000 and GLOBALG.A.P. We also work with SALSA-accredited suppliers.
- Producers who can provide properly labelled samples to be tested prior to trading - the proof is in the pudding!
- Producers who go above and beyond when it comes to transparency of pricing, consistency of supply and flexibility with processing abilities and deliveries.
- Last but not least, we are increasingly partnering with producers who are working on improving their impact, such as through the reduction of single-use plastic, carbon offsetting and moving towards 100% renewable energy sources.
Once I choose a producer to work with, what stops me from contacting them directly?
Nothing. We are happy for you to be in direct contact with the producers, and actively encourage an open dialogue around product quality / provenance etc. We are the bridge between our customers and our producer partners, and will make every effort to facilitate the best working relationship on both sides.
We only ask that our customers treat us and our producer partners fairly and with transparency. Most of the time, working through us ensures a better deal, great customer service and logistics that are set up for multi-drop. Many of our producers will have signed anti-bypass agreements so if a customer believes they can get a better deal by sourcing directly, we are happy to have an open conversation about best options. We genuinely want to help and will support whatever makes commercial sense in the given situation.
It is worth noting that our team researches a vast range of product options during the sourcing phase, which is time-consuming and costly. We do not pass these costs on to our customers but ask that they respect the work we do by treating us fairly. This selection process helps to save our customers’ time and money and, by dealing with us directly for all orders placed, they can consolidate all trading relationships under one roof, rather than dealing with multiple producers individually.
Contracts, pricing and payment
Is there a contract for customers?
For most customers, we will ask that you enter into a trading agreement with us for the selected products. This will cover the agreed products, prices, delivery locations, and term of delivery. These trading agreements give you peace of mind that you have security of supply for a fixed period, and help us negotiate the best prices on your behalf with our producer partners. Some products may not require a trading agreement. Rest assured that we will always work hard to find ways to support the growth of your business in the best way we can: fixed prices, long payment terms, flexible deliveries and more. We want you to feel like we are a trusted extension of your own team, always looking out for your best interests.
We do ask you to review and agree to our Terms and Conditions when we start trading with you. These detail our processes in case you want to cancel or return your orders, as well as other eventualities.
What is a Trading Agreement?
A Trading Agreement is a simple agreement that commits the customer to buy certain product(s) at an approved price for an agreed period of time (e.g. 6 months), with deliveries to specified location(s). The Trading Agreement is subject to our standard Terms and Conditions.
How do you make your money?
It’s free for restaurants to use our platform and benefit from our research services. We apply a fair margin on product prices, inclusive of our logistics costs and services. Transparency is a core value of our business and our producers have full visibility on our margins and final prices should they request it.
How can you be cheaper than the alternatives but still provide the same or better quality?
We have direct relationships with producers around the world that allow us to secure competitive pricing directly from the source. In addition to applying a fair margin on product prices, you will benefit from our buying power and long and trusted relationships we’ve built with thousands of farms and producers. We operate an innovative distribution model which improves efficiencies and customer service, and positively impacts our prices as well as the environment.
We embrace the power of the collective to negotiate better deals for our customers. We work to consolidate orders. Consolidation has been a great exercise to help our customers improve their savings even further. As we cover a great range of products such as meat, fish, dry store, dairy and beverages, consolidation drives prices down.
Taken together, our model can typically deliver savings of up to 20% on key protein lines. In some cases, we have been able to secure savings for our customers upwards of 30% on certain products.
Most importantly, we understand how savings and margins are key to help you grow your business. We believe our distribution model goes way beyond being just a cost-savings tool. We want to bring transparency and full traceability on where and how your products have been produced. Our aim is to create better industry values by developing direct and fair relationships with producers.
This will also have a positive impact on your brand, as customers are more and more interested in knowing where ingredients come from.
Can I negotiate a better price for high volume and repeat orders?
Yes, you are able to secure even better prices if you have higher volumes and repeat orders. However, thanks to the long-term and trusted relationships with our producers, even if your order is not based on large volumes, you should still benefit from the most competitive prices on the market. This is because we consolidate our customers’ orders and “collectively” purchase on your behalf, making our model attractive particularly to smaller restaurant chains who wouldn’t be able to secure these prices on their own.
Are there any extra costs?
No. The price you receive from us is the final price agreed and takes into account your specified delivery requirements and volumes.
What are the payment terms?
Payments are typically 30 days from the date of invoice. You will be provided with an automatic invoice on the day of delivery sent by email. If needed, we can also provide weekly and monthly statements. If you need longer terms, or would like to discuss a specific payment schedule, our team is here to help.
Do you credit check customers?
We gather as much information as we can about each customer prior to trading. This can include credit checks but also reputation checks and customer feedback. This is particularly relevant if exceptional payment terms are required (e.g. more than the standard 30 days).
Orders and delivery
How do deliveries work?
Tonnes of fresh products arrive every day at our consolidation hubs, located in key areas where we operate. From there, we go through quality and temperature controls and prepare your orders. A portion of the orders will then be delivered via our PODs (Points of Distribution), with last mile delivery partners fulfilling the final stretch of the delivery; the remainder will be delivered in a consolidated way.
We will always consult with you first to understand your delivery requirements (e.g. delivery window, access instructions, if / how you want us to place products in your fridge). We know how much a late delivery or picking mistakes can impact your operations. We make sure our back-end operations are in place for you to receive your products when and where you need them.
Can I cancel an order?
You can cancel your order from the time of placing it until the cut off point specified by your account manager, who will have discussed a schedule with you. You are liable for the full cost of the order if you cancel it after this time. More details can be found in our Terms and Conditions.
What if my goods turn up damaged or are missing?
We will make every effort to make sure that you get your ordered supplies. In the event of any issues please contact our customer service team and we will take all the necessary actions including having replacement products delivered by courier to you.
Will it take long to set up an account with Collectiv Food?
Setting up an account with Collectiv Food is straightforward: just fill in a short form and your account manager will do the rest. Once we have activated your account, you will be required to sign a trading agreement for the approved set of products. When this is signed off, we can start delivering.
I have found a problem with my account/your website. What should I do?
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call on +44 (0)20 3411 8837 and we will help you sort out the issue. Thank you!