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August 14, 2023

5 Distinctions Between B2B & B2C Food Marketing

In the world of food marketing, most efforts and campaigns fall into two broad categories: Business to Business (B2B or foodservice) and Business to Consumer (B2C or retail). While both landscapes aim to promote culinary offerings, they cater to vastly different audiences and employ distinct techniques. Understanding the nuances between B2B and B2C food marketing is essential for crafting effective campaigns tailored to each audience’s unique needs and preferences.

1. Buying Influences

In B2B there are no impulse purchases. Oftentimes, products and services must be approved on multiple accounts. Marketing messages must reflect this longer purchase process and be mindful of the impact purchasing decisions make.


Foodservice and retail marketing necessitate different communication styles due to the varying preferences of their audiences. B2B marketing often employs a more formal, informative, and professional tone. Information about product specifications, pricing, distribution, and benefits takes center stage.


2. Buyer-Seller Relationship

Since the sales cycle is so much longer in B2B, the relationship with the sales team is closer, stable, and interpersonal, so a strong relationship is imperative.


While relationship building is important in both B2B and B2C marketing, the nature of these relationships differs. foodservice marketing emphasizes building long-term partnerships and collaborations within businesses. It involves nurturing professional relationships based on trust, reliability, and mutual growth.


3. Sales Volume and Number of Buyers

Because there is greater sales volume with fewer decision makers in the B2B space, each customer or potential customer carries huge weight for the company. These buyers expect less rigid product specifications, and customization of the product is common — there often isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for every industry. This situation is especially true on the chain restaurant side of foodservice. However, there is still a huge opportunity to connect with very profitable independent restaurants who have less need for product customization.

4. Decision Cycle

The path to purchase also differs significantly. In B2B scenarios, decision-making often involves multiple stakeholders, including procurement managers, chefs, and business owners. Results are slower and often harder to measure. Therefore, foodservice marketing strategies focus on providing comprehensive information that addresses the immediate and long-term needs of various decision makers.


5. Channels and Platforms

Choosing the right marketing channels and platforms is another critical distinction between B2B and B2C food marketing. Foodservice marketing relies on trade shows, industry events, foodservice publications, brand websites, and online platforms catering to professionals in the food industry. LinkedIn is a preferred social media platform for B2B marketers as it allows for networking and sharing industry insights.


B2C marketing thrives on visually rich channels. For example, social platforms like Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and Pinterest can capture consumers’ attention with tantalizing food imagery. Similarly, billboards and commercials can help build brand recognition and trigger consumers’ desire to indulge.

In the dynamic world of food marketing, the distinctions between B2B and B2C strategies are evident in every facet. While both approaches seek to promote culinary products, understanding the nuances of each is essential for creating effective and resonating marketing campaigns.


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