Our customers increasingly want to know where our food comes from, who produces it and how it gets to the plate.
Specialty and seasonal products obtained from small to midsized producers help them differentiate themselves from their competitors, satisfy their customers' demands for new products and support local communities.
Our FreshPoint operating companies, which have long supported local farms individually, led the industry in CY2014 by developing a new program within existing technology that enables the tracking of local purchases from farm to customer. Connecting our national database of local farms, the program covers a full range of products including fruits, vegetables and other specialty items.
All Sysco Broadline locations also have local food programs. Through an internal mentoring plan, we continually improve our offerings from companies with well-developed local food programs and help companies with more nascent local programs evolve and mature.
Sysco launched its local foods initiative in 2009. We work closely with local farmers and producers, providing training and advice to help them integrate a range of goods - including produce, meats, cheese and other products -- into our supply chain efficiently and safely.
We also work with customers and vendors to identify potential local suppliers and provide resources to help them become Sysco business partners. In CY2014 we established a Local Foods Advisory committee of more than 50 ambassadors, representing all locations, to develop and implement local initiatives to explore best practices and design a structure for cross-company strategies that will expedite the local food program’s development and enhance its overall effectiveness.
Training and Development
We hold all of our suppliers to the same high food safety standards. Partnering with the Produce Marketing Association since 2011, we have delivered 18 Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) workshops, educating more than 900 small farmers about how to integrate GAP requirements into their operations.
We also connect small family farms with processors and support organizations that can help them obtain appropriate insurance and meet other Sysco supplier requirements. Through universities and local extension offices, we help provide GAP audits to small local growers at a reduced rate.
Leading the industry, Sysco’s FreshPoint locations implemented technology in CY2014 that enables the tracking of local purchases from farm to customer. Our national network of local farmers relies on us for distribution, marketing and customer access.
In CY2014 FreshPoint also established a committee of more than 50 ambassadors, representing all of its locations, to develop and implement local initiatives during monthly calls that address database updates, farm and customer opportunities, training and marketing materials.
"It's just cheese," supplier Ed Gordo says in Sysco Cleveland's "Looking for Local" video series.
While the farm to table movement may be relatively young, some of our local suppliers have been in business a very long time. Patty’s Herbs, which is supported by Sysco Central Texas and FreshPoint San Antonio, has produced culinary herbs and edible flowers since 1981. With a 20-acre farm and its own packing plant in Pearsall, Texas, about an hour south of San Antonio, the company grows 18 varieties of herbs and flowers year-round.
Some of Sysco's local suppliers lead the industry in sustainable practices.
Calcagno Family Farms, a four-generation old, family-run grower, packer and shipper of more than 30 organic and sustainably grown fresh market vegetables near Portland, Oregon, has embraced sustainable farming methods for more than 50 years.
FreshPoint San Francisco's Local Program partners with the Bay Area's Buy Fresh Buy Local campaign, Community Alliance with Family Farmers and Growers Collaborative Bay Area to support family owned and operated farms that practice sustainable agriculture.
Explore the Supplying Food Responsibly Section
- About Our Supply Chain
- Local Sourcing
- Sustainable Agriculture
- Animal Welfare
- Sustainable Seafood
- Social Compliance
The mantra to buy local sounds deliciously simple but raises complex issues. With no industry standard definition, "local" means different things to different people.
Fast Company magazine named Sysco one of the world’s 10 most innovative food companies in FY2012, citing our efforts to integrate locally grown produce and locally-developed food service products into our supply chain.