Distribution expenses within the food industry average 3.0% of sales, the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) states in the recently released 2004 Food Industry Distribution Center Benchmarking Report. Costs vary between traditional food distributors (3.6% of sales) and self-distributing chains (2.7%). The food retailers reportedly achieve lower direct labor and management costs due in part to the efficiencies gained through larger customer orders. On a site-by-site basis, labor costs are the biggest expense by far, representing 68% of total costs, in operating a modern food distribution center. Contact the Food Marketing Institute (www.fmi.org) for a copy of the report.