America’s food producers set up their supply chains to cater a certain percentage to restaurants and a certain percentage to supermarkets, and while you might think, “food is food,” supermarkets and their shoppers have different needs from restaurants:
“Seldom does a consumer go to a grocery store and want to buy a 5-pound bag of shredded cheese,” said Mark Stephenson, director of Dairy Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. “They wanted maybe 1-pound bags at a time. You can’t just put 1-pound bags through a 5-pound line. Not possible. You have to have a different piece of equipment set up differently. We’ve had an industry that’s had to shuffle a great deal to move product from where it was produced before to where it needs to be today.