Is it legal to purchase food items in bulk (example dried fruits, candy, etc.) and repackage under new brand name and distribute to grocery stores for re-sale?
Any info would be greatly appreciated.
Yes you can do it. But the fact that you asked the question shows that you lack some basic food industry information. Allow me to give you some expert direction.
I was at the 2011 Fancy Food Show in San Francisco just this month. http://www.specialtyfood.com/fancy-food-show/winter-fancy-food-show/
Such shows are generally limited to professionals associated with the food industry. Make up a business name, and they should let you in.
Over 17,000 attendees at the Fancy Food Show see more than 80,000 food products from more than 1,300 exhibitors representing 35+ countries. You cannot just walk into safeway and sell you product.
To accomplish your goal, you will need a lot more than a few product. Getting the product is easy. I can hand you 10,000 pounds of artisan handmade, national award winning cheese right now, today. Package it any way you want. You will not be able to do it alone. You will need a team.
With some exceptions, stores buy from distributors, not you. o sell the product, you will need distributors to carry your product and to distribute it to the stores. You, or more likely food brokers (example only http://www.globalsalesmktg.com/ ), will need to go into the store to get the buyer interested in the product. This is an extremely competitive area. Store buyer are inundated with products seeking shelf space. Before you start, study retailers’ price ranges, packaging is critical, know their profit mark ups and margins, look for trends, look at what sells, etc. learn which distributor the stores buy from; if you are with X but they don’t buy from X, then that distributor is no help to you for that store chain.
So you will need to meet a lot of people. This is time consuming and travel cost money.
Go to a food show. At such an event, one can learn a great deal about food merchandising, and meet face to face with persons in the industry. Frank discussions are available. Many will tell you No. Just move on.
The next big show is June 5-7, 2011, Anaheim, CA. http://www.iddba.org/pdfs/2011_Exh.pdf http://www.iddba.org/conference.aspx Do not be fooled by the title of the show, all the major distributors, food brokers, retailers, chefs, food manufactures, packagers, label machines, re-sellers, and the press will be there, some with a booth and some just attending. I will likely be there too. Conversations are generally a few minutes. You may email persons before the show to set up meetings. People know things and will answer you questions - the guy who sells bags to M&Ms knows more than just bags.
You will need a contracts lawyer familiar with the food industry.