Wholesale Wooden Cutlery: Manufacturer vs. Trading Company

You can buy directly from the wooden cutlery manufacturers, trading companies or even wholesalers. Your sourcing may be difficult when you have so many options at your disposal.

Of course, each of them comes with different benefits and pricing that you must be aware of.

If you are thinking of purchasing wooden cutlery, you have come to the right place. Here is a complete guide to help you differentiate between manufacturer and trading companies of wholesale wooden cutlery.

This guide consists of 5 sections, click on any section that you interest to get there quickly.

  1. Types Of Chinese Trading Company
    – Trading Companies
    – Purchasing Agent
    – Individual Trading Company (SOHO)
    – Production And Sales Integrated Trading Company
  2. Advantages For Trading Company
    – Advantages For Traders
    – Product Categories Are More Abundant
  3. Advantages Of Wooden Cutlery Manufacturers
    – Quality Control
    – Cost Control
    – Delivery Control
    – After-sales
  4. How To Verify That Chinese Wooden Cutlery Supplier Is A Manufacturer
    1. View The Website And Product Catalog
    2. Check The Supplier’s MOQ
    3. Photos Or Videos Of Machines
    4. Check The Factory Audit Report
    5. Check For ISO 9001 Certification
    6. Check The Supplier’s Location
  5. Final Thoughts

Types Of Chinese Traders

An important note you must remember is that trading companies are only responsible for sales. They do not produce any of the products themselves, as they source them from manufacturers. Here are the various traders you must know about.

Trading Company

1. Grocery Trader

The primary aim of a grocery trader is to serve customers from various industries and provide them with different products. These include desks, pet supplies, glass bottles, wooden cutlery, and much more. Such a company will go after the hot spots, including top-selling products on Amazon.

You will notice that if there is a popular product in the market, a grocery trading company will be selling it. So, in simple terms, a grocery trader will always sell what sells the most.

Highlighting Features

Low product professionalism and resource concentration.

2. Single Industry Trader

They are more professional than a grocery trader as they will provide services to the buyers in the field. China has a large number of traders who only specialize in wooden cutlery.

Such traders serve various customers in the tableware industry, from procurement to sales, transportation, and much more. Keep in mind that a single industry trader is also not responsible for the production.

Highlighting Features

They can provide solutions for customers, but product professionalism and quality control are low
Single-industry traders only specialize in one field.

Purchasing Agent

The procurement company aims to help the customers negotiate with suppliers. It has a complete procurement model and system. This includes factory inspection, testing, documentation, transportation, custom declarations, and much more.

They are very familiar with the industrial chain form of China, and can quickly learn and process the information of customers’ industries. This will be conducive to the acquisition of orders

In the last few decades, it has been a challenge for Chinese factories with no information to directly obtain foreign orders. Because of this, procurement companies have obtained sufficient room for development. Guangzhou, Yiwu, Hong Kong, and other companies especially represent these.

A purchasing agent also can be an individual. They can also be employed by large multinational groups to help them complete procurement tasks. In China’s international trade, this kind of cooperation model is already rare.

Highlighting Features

SOHO will find ways to meet your requirements, but you will have to remain careful of some traps. They are more suitable for micro-enterprise procurement.

Individual Trading Company (SOHO)

SOHO is short for Small Office and Home Office. It is a trading company that only includes one or two people.

These people are typically the founders of the company and complete all functions related to the business, include quality inspection, sales, negotiation, factory inspection, procurement, transportation, customs declaration, delivery, and more.

As a disposable wooden cutlery manufacture, we have dealt with a few SOHOs, and their capabilities are incredibly strong.

However, you must remember that they have too many responsibilities to handle and no colleagues to help them. Mistakes are common in busy schedules. Potential loss of control when processing large orders, resulting in losses for buyers.

Because of this, you must always leave relevant details of your order and its evidence.

Highlighting Features

They’ve been around for years, and got a lot of experience. Not limited to a certain category of products.

Production And Sales Integrated Trading Company

They are producers and at the same time sell as middlemen on some products.

Usually, they specialize in production of a specific product, and in addition, they also deal in other related products.

Such a situation is common in China, as factories produce the same product category and are gathered in the same industrial cluster city. The factories and workshops are next to each other to maximize influence and order acquisition.

For example, a manufacturer of wooden cutlery may cooperate with factories that produce wooden toothpicks, takeout food containers, paper plates, paper cups, and much more.

Highlighting Features

They are specialists in a single product(such as disposable wooden cutlery), quality can be guaranteed. And able to one-stop purchasing at competitive price form them. Worry-free, time and cost saving.

Advantages For Traders

Here are the top advantages you will reap if you opt for a wooden cutlery trader:

Product Categories Are More Abundant

Traders have a variety of factory suppliers, which is why they have an abundance of product categories. They also offer various types and designs for you to choose from.

Trading companies can provide wooden cutlery of different sizes, qualities, materials, thicknesses, shapes, and more.

After you place an order with the company, they will source and urging manufacturers to produce in advance what you need on demand. So, there is a guarantee you will receive your cargo in time.


MOQ stands for the minimum order quantity of a product that a supplier or manufacturer is willing to sell. The best part about trading companies is that their MOQ is small because they can source from large manufacturers or small workshops.

So, if you have a small order, the trading company will be more flexible while providing you with a reasonable price and reliable quality.

Advantages Of Wooden Cutlery Manufacturers

Now that you understand the advantages of trading companies, here are some advantages you can reap from wooden cutlery manufacturers:

Quality Control

Manufacturers focus on a certain industry for many years, which is why they accumulate professional skills and knowledge. Their official website has articles and blogs to to guide and simplify the purchasing process.

High-quality means that the customers will be happy, and their business will also grow. Because of this, the manufacturer focus is on quality control and impeccable product quality to meet customer requirements.

Cost Control

Cost control is not only reflected in the product you receive. Instead, manufacturers have better management systems. From raw materials, production, transportation to packaging, printing, and other economies of scale to reduce costs.

Delivery Control

For the large order, one of the top advantages of the factory is fast and stable shipping. As a manufacturer of wooden cutlery, we also cooperate with many trading companies. When they place an order, we will schedule the order accordingly.

But, before that, many orders from our own foreign customers are already in production. And for the sample order and trial order of our overseas sales team, the workshop will always give priority to production and delivery.

On the other hand, trading companies have the advantage of being more selective. For example, when we can’t fulfill the order request within fifteen days, they may turn to other manufacturers that meet their request.


After-sales is an important sales practice in almost all industries. Manufacturers of wooden cutlery clearly have an advantage here.

For example, if the cartons get damaged during transportation and the wooden cutlery is deformed, then our after-sales team will verify as soon as possible and immediately reissue these products.

In Summary

You must understand that wooden cutlery manufacturers and traders focus on different business aspects.

Traders will pay more attention to customer service and meet their needs. However, traps such as ultra-low prices and delivery within three days can often cause you significant loss.

Manufacturers will pay more attention to product quality and cost control. However, they prefer to work with tableware suppliers and importers who place large orders.

The good news is: With the development of the Internet and the maturity of the industrial chain, more and more wooden tableware are willing to accept lower MOQ, such as Ecoure.

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Check out our disposable wooden cutlery details.

How To Verify That Chinese Wooden Cutlery Supplier Is A Manufacturer

Many tableware suppliers are curious to know whether they are dealing with a manufacturer or a trading company when importing wooden cutlery from China.

That is because almost every Chinese supplier claims to be a factory, however, they are actually trading companies.

So, here are a few effective methods you can use to verify if a company is a manufacturer and not a trading company:

1. View The Website And Product Catalog

Checking the website and product catalog is important because a manufacturer will usually specialize in one or a few products. If the variety of products is wide in the supplier catalog, then it is highly likely to be a trading company.

For example:

Disposable wooden and bamboo spoons, forks, and knives could appear in the manufacturer’s catalog. They have a highly repetitive production process, and the raw materials for bamboo and birch can be sourced from the mountains.

But, if the supplier provides wooden cutlery along with porcelain, metal, and glass, then it is most likely to be a trading company.
No manufacturer can produce these products at the same time because the production materials, processes, and materials are completely different.

2. Check The Supplier’s MOQ

The MOQ of the manufacturers is usually higher than that of the trading company. You can gauge the kind of company it is through the MOQ they offer.

For example, the MOQ of a wooden cutlery trader can be ten cartons, so that you can get it easily through DHL. They need to finish a order in the shortest time.

On the other hand, manufacturers have a large MOQ, as Ecoure have a MOQ of 100 cartons for a single SKU. Usually, the order need to ship by sea. However, to cooperate with customers and ensure trial orders and samples, we can lower the MOQ.

3. Photos Or Videos Of Machines

Always check the photos or videos of machines on the website. If there are direct production videos and pictures, then it will ensure the credibility of the manufacturer or supplier. It also means that the company is transparent with its customers.

4. Check The Factory Audit Report

Many manufacturers claim that they ship to large companies, such as Walmart. If that is the case with the supplier you select, make sure that you ask them to send you a factory audit report.

For some large fast food chains, such as KFC, there are strict inspection procedures and supplier systems. So, if the supplier can produce such a report, then it means they are the manufacturer. It will also verify the claims that they are making about supplying tableware to large companies.

5. Check For ISO 9001 Certification

The ISO 9001 Certification is to check whether the production is legal and compliant. Keep in mind that not every factory has ISO 9001 Certification, but most companies that have this certification are factories because it is not necessary for trading companies to have it.

6. Check The Supplier’s Location

Finally, we recommend that you check the location of the supplier. Specific products have specific industrial concentration cities, where they have complete industrial chains and resources. Therefore, the supplier in this city is more likely to be a manufacturer than in other places.

In China, here are two industrial clusters of wooden cutlery. These include Northeast China, close to the Daxinganling Mountains, and the Anhui Province, near the Dabie Mountains. As raw materials can be plentiful because of the proximity of both regions to large mountains.

Besides that, the industry historical aspect is also important.

Many years ago, the local residents made a living producing and selling wooden cutlery, and it grew into the mainstay of the local economy. So, the wooden cutlery industry is very mature and well-known in these two regions.

Producing wooden cutlery in other cities is more complicated, more expensive, and less efficient than in other areas.

So, most of the suppliers in Anhui Province and Northeast China regions are wooden cutlery manufacturers. So, make sure that you check the location and then decide what it is that you want.

Final Thoughts

That was your complete guide to understanding the difference between a manufacturer and a trading company of wooden cutlery. We hope you know the difference and can make an informed decision about which company you want to select to purchase such cutlery from.

If it is a small order, or buying for a family, we recommend purchasing from local tableware suppliers or trading companies, who will provide low MOQ and timely shipment.

If it is a large-scale sourcing, a veteran of the disposable cutlery industry, or a large restaurant chain, etc., believe that a wooden cutlery manufacturer can better enhance your competitiveness.

How to Bulk Disposable Wooden Cutlery from China?

How to find a reliable and price competitive disposable wooden cutlery supplier in China? This is probably what bothers most people.

Here is a 3000-word guide to help you understand step by step.


We are specialized in biodegradable disposable tableware manufacturing from 2010. If any questions, please feel free to send to us, we will do our best to solve your problem.

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