A person who wants to become a food broker typically needs at least a high school diploma, General Educational Development (GED) diploma, or its equivalent. College isn’t usually required in this field, although taking marketing and business courses may help an aspiring food broker to succeed. Gaining some sales experience may also prove helpful.
A food broker is a person who promotes food and food products for the companies that produce and manufacture them. This person essentially works to connect buyers with producers, and may, for example, promote specialty food products to wholesalers and retail stores. He or she generally will not promote products to consumers, however.
Often, food manufacturers find two benefits to working with a food broker. First, a manufacturer gets more exposure for his products, which often translates into more sales. Second, using the services of a broker may prove less expensive than hiring full-time sales staff. Wholesalers and retailers benefit as well. Since a food broker typically promotes many manufacturers, a wholesaler or retailer may be able to find all he needs through a single broker rather than having to deal with sales people from many different companies.
Many people who want to work as food brokers begin as sales representatives and receive on-the-job training. They may then move on to food brokering, starting their own businesses instead of working for a company. Others may apply for jobs with established brokerages.
People who want to become a food broker should check with the local health department because, in some places, a license is required to handle food, even when distributing samples. A prospective broker may also take marketing courses to learn more about the best ways to promote products. Business courses may help as well, especially if the person plans to start his or her own business instead of working for a company.
Once a person is working as a food broker, he or she may receive additional training. A manufacturer who contracts with him may provide training on its specific products, for example. This helps to prepare the food broker to present the company’s products in the best possible light.
An individual who wants to become a food broker may either apply for jobs with brokerage companies that handle the food industry or approach food producers and manufacturers on his or her own. If an aspiring broker chooses to start a business, he will need to use some of his sales skills to convince companies to contract with him. He’ll also need to create a contract for each company that agrees to work with him, detailing the amount of commission he’ll earn for his work.