Food & Beverage Fleet Management Solutions

Food & Beverage

Cargo vans, trucks, and other commercial vehicles for the food and beverage industry

Merchants Fleet offers a wide variety of commercial vehicles for all aspects of the food and beverage industry — including processors and producers, distributors, wholesalers, and other companies selling perishable goods. Transporting perishable food and beverages before they spoil, while keeping cargo safe, secure, and traceable is vital to maintaining the food and beverage supply chain. Our experts can help you get product-to-shelf quickly to maintain quality, while helping maintain profits by avoiding waste.

Choose from reefer vans (cargo and passenger van body styles) and reefer trucks (including box trucks, cutaways, and tractor-trailers) from top manufacturers such as RAM, Ford, General Motors, Mercedes, and more. Vehicles can be upfitted to accommodate your business needs including racks, storage compartments, refrigeration, temperature monitoring, and customized solutions built from the ground-up to bring your vision to life.

We also offer electric vehicles (EVs) and have access to the latest EV cargo vans, box trucks, and more. EVs are a great choice for companies transporting smaller loads, as upfitters can integrate your refrigeration system into an electric cargo van’s electric drivetrain, meaning there are less parts to fail, increased interior space, and all of the benefits that EVs offer.

If you want to learn more about EVs and ways to start integrating them into your food and beverage fleet, visit Electrify Fleet — our EV hub featuring the latest tools and resources to help you get started on your fleet electrification journey.

Food & Beverage Fleet Management Overview

Merchants Fleet knows that fleets that transport perishable food and drink using reefer trucks and vans need to be dynamic to meet the seasonal demands of both grocery and specialty foods industries. Benefits of partnering with a fleet management company include:

  • Lower Costs
  • Improved Fleet Safety
  • Customized Short-Term & Long-Term Leases
  • Key Data to Manage Your Vehicles
  • Faster Deployment to Job Sites
  • Trackable Fuel Spend
  • Visibility Into Vehicle Lifecycle Costs
  • Ability to Monitor Equipment

Vehicle Considerations for the Food & Beverage Industry

When looking at vehicles for food and beverage transportation, the top priorities are to ensure goods are delivered without loss in quality, avoid contamination during transport, and prevent load loss. For this reason, the effectiveness of your vehicle upfit is of critical importance, while the class of vehicle is more closely related to the quantity of product you normally transport.

Your fleet management company (FMC) should be able to detail available options based on what you’re looking to transport. The right FMC will also be able to help lower overhead costs, and in many cases even reduce fuel spend, insurance premiums, and registration costs. Here are some points to consider:

Heavy Payloads
Since payload capacities are often maxed out to lower transportation costs, reefer trucks and reefer vans used to transport food and beverages often experience accelerated wear-and-tear. As these trucks and vans often drive in congested areas, to multiple depots and drop-off points, it is especially important to consider tires, maintenance, and the lifecycle of a vehicle. These vehicles generally require upfitting, including heavy refrigeration or freezer units, further increasing maintenance costs.

Upfit Maintenance
Unlike simple storage racks, shelving, and ladders, trucks used in the food and beverage industry require extensive, and highly complicated upfitting to turn them into refrigerated transport. Regular inspection of your compressor, condenser, evaporator, connecting hoses, and more helps prevent delivery failures on the road. We recommend partnering with a fleet management company that has an expert upfit department experienced in reefer vehicle systems.

Food Transport Vehicle Regulations
The FDA created the Sanitary Food Transportation Act in 2005 which requires all businesses that transport food, including feed for animals, to adhered to strict sanitary practices. This helps to ensure that there is no contamination during transportation and that food safety is always a top priority. Partnering with a fleet management company who knows the ins-and-outs of compliance can help ensure your drivers and vehicles are ready to meet federal requirements of food and beverage transport.

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Vehicles for Food and Beverage Transportation

The most popular type of commercial vehicles for the food and beverage industry are typically cargo vans, cutaway vans, box trucks, and tractor-trailers. We also offer gas, diesel, and EV options, depending on your needs.

No matter what you’re looking to transport, we offer a variety of commercial vehicles. Our most popular vehicles include:

Cargo Vans

  • Chevrolet Express 2500
  • Ford Transit 250 & 350
  • GMC Savana 2500
  • Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
  • RAM ProMaster 2500 & 3500

Cutaway Vans

  • Chevrolet Express 3500 & 4500
  • Ford E-350 & E-450
  • GMC Savana 3500

Box Trucks

  • Chevrolet Express 3500 & 4500
  • Ford E-350 & E-450
  • Ford F-650
  • GMC Savana 3500


  • Freightliner M2
  • Ford F-750
  • Hino 338
  • Kenworth K370, T370, and T440/470
  • Mack MD
  • Peterbilt 220 & 337/348

Upfit Applications

Upfits are critical for vehicles used in the food and beverage industry. The quality of your upfit can make the difference between a successful delivery or a total load loss.

Here are some of the most popular upfits for vehicles in the food and beverage industry:

  • Logos, Branding, and Decals
  • Roof- and skirt-mounted refrigeration options
  • Insulated truck bodies for long-distance travel
  • Diamond plate and non-skid flooring
  • Temperature monitoring sensors
  • Drawer Units
  • Shelving Modules
  • Alarm Systems
  • GPS Systems

Comprehensive Fleet Services & Technology

We offer flexible leasing and funding options to fit every type of food and beverage fleet, including:

  • Open-End Lease
  • Closed-End Lease
  • Short-Term Lease
  • Rent-to-Lease
  • Value Lease

We’ll work with you to customize your financing terms and structure. Electric vehicle fleet leasing and funding is also available.

Fleet Fuel Management

In partnership with Mastercard® fuel credit cards, we offer fuel management programs backed by a nationwide vendor network for security, convenience, and cost management. Our TotalView technology allows you to:

  • Track Fuel Spending
  • Streamline Expense Management
  • Manage User Profiles
  • Set Up Overspending and Fraud Alerts


With TotalView fleet maintenance reporting, you can access purchase order data, backup documentation, and key reports through TotalView, our fleet management software, and easily track maintenance expenses and vehicle maintenance history. TotalView also allows full visibility into your employee fuel spend you can prevent fraud and identify areas for cost savings.

Fleet Maintenance

Control spending and simplify maintenance with our fleet maintenance programs. Benefits include controlling costs, reducing administrative burdens, minimizing downtime, and eliminating unpredictable expenses.

Our Merchants Fleet Roadside Assistance program provides fleet maintenance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Whether it is a flat tire, dead battery, or empty gas tank, you and your drivers will have a toll-free number to call — any time of day or night.

In addition, our network of ASE-certified technicians will take care of all your fleet maintenance and repair management needs, in addition to offering guidance and support for routine services or emergency repairs.


Merchant Fleet’s connected vehicle technology, TotalConnect, powered by MOTORQ, gives you the deep visibility into your fleet in order to make effective, analytic driven improvements. With TotalConnect, you can expect:

  • Real-Time Data to Guide Important Fleet Decisions
  • Seamless Integration of Fleet Data
  • Cost Savings Potential
  • A User-Friendly Data and Analysis Platform

Fleet & Driver Safety

The best way to save on insurance premiums is to reduce your number of accidents, and the best way to accomplish this is with the right safety and training programs. With Merchants Fleet, you can ensure your drivers have the tools, education, and resources they need to avoid accidents or injury.

We can see what’s available through the OEM in terms of safety features, help you budget accordingly, and accommodate any special safety requests or needs.

You can choose to implement driver safety training — either with a generic program or one customized to your needs — and monitor driver behavior with our connected vehicle technology TotalConnect, telematics, and GPS tracking.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of fleet management for the food and beverage industry?

A fleet management solution will help your vehicles and drivers adhere to FDA regulations and ensure cargo is kept safe, secure and arrives without contamination and spoilage. Other benefits include: reducing operational costs, reducing administrative burden, lowering fleet repair costs, and ensuring the highest level of safety for you, your employees, and the customers consuming the products you transport. With FleetAssist and our administered maintenance program, Merchant Fleet can help even if you own your vehicles. Let our experts take on the day-to-day administration of your fleet, which frees up more of your time.

How does Merchants support food and beverage partners from a consulting perspective?

Our Merchants Fleet consulting team combines industry experience, analytical skills, big data, and the latest fleet technologies to provide tailored solutions across the entire fleet lifecycle. Whether you are looking to reduce costs, enhance corporate sustainability, upgrade fleet policies, or improve driver behavior, we will develop the most effective strategies to meet your goals. Our heavy-duty truck experts can assist you with vehicle selection and managing your reefer truck or van projects from start to finish.

How long does refrigeration upfitting take to install?

Vehicle upfitting is what transforms standard cargo vans and trucks into reefer vans and reefer trucks. Turnaround times vary based on the on the number of vehicles and the size of the vehicles in which you need to upfit. Contact Merchants to discuss your upfit needs, and our team can provide more detailed information about potential costs and timeframe.

What kind of fleet leasing and funding terms are available?

We provide a variety of leasing and funding to meet your needs. Closed-end leases offer a fixed monthly payment. An open-end lease gives you complete leasing structure flexibility. If you have purchased your own vehicles, we can add fleet management services.