Diners today are more interested than ever before in where their food comes from and how it’s made. US Foods® has multiple programs and policies in place to support our commitment to providing an extensive portfolio of innovative products.
Through a third-party sustainable product materiality assessment that included feedback from internal and external stakeholders, US Foods has prioritized key initiatives we believe will have the most impact.
RESPONSIBLE SOURCING POLICY
Our commitment to high sourcing standards begins with our Responsible Sourcing Policy, which sets forth the principles that we expect all of our suppliers to meet. This policy covers critical topics such as legal compliance, food safety, human rights, physical safety, and the environment. We ask that suppliers train their employees to understand and comply with these standards.
The cornerstone of our commitment to offering sustainable products is our Serve Good® program, which features products that are responsibly sourced or contribute to waste reduction. These products are developed in partnership with manufacturers who share our commitment to Serve Good program standards and, where applicable, come with verification by third-party certifiers. You can learn more about Serve Good program requirements here.
- 800+ Serve Good and Progress Check® products
- 260+ products classified as responsible disposables
Since launching the program in 2016, we’ve continued to grow our Serve Good portfolio to more than 500 food and non-food products, providing foodservice operators with a wide array of products to meet the growing demand for sustainable menu items. Products like our Rykoff Sexton® Non-GMO Canola Oil, compostable Monogram® All-Purpose Flax Towels made 100% from sustainable plant-based material, and Marine Stewardship Council-certified Harbor Banks® Beer-Battered Alaska Cod are just a few examples of how we’re helping customers bring innovative, sustainable solutions to their operations.
As the global demand for seafood continues to grow, we believe we can play an important role in supporting the long-term health of fisheries and aquaculture through the distribution of responsibly sourced seafood.
We are working to continually improve the sustainability and traceability of our seafood supply chain, starting with a focus on our Exclusive Brand seafood products. The cornerstone of these efforts is our Responsibly Sourced Seafood Policy. This policy outlines measurable, timebound commitments that address all species within our Exclusive Brands seafood portfolio and each stage of our supply chain. In addition, this policy leverages our partnerships with best-in-class industry organizations at the forefront of seafood sustainability standards.
We have achieved our 2018 Responsibly Sourced Seafood milestone for our Harbor Banks Exclusive Brand. 80% of the products in our Harbor Banks seafood portfolio, US Foods largest portfolio of Exclusive Brand seafood products, now meet either Progress Check or Serve Good standards.
The Marine Stewardship Council Award
In 2019, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) awarded US Foods the US Ocean Champion Award. This award is reserved for MSC partners in the United States that are helping to ensure an ocean full of life now and into the future. Award recipients are recognized for going above and beyond MSC commitments by demonstrating a dedication to healthy oceans and transparent supply chain operations.
As responsibly sourced seafood practices continue to vary across countries and organizations, US Foods is working to make seafood choices easier and more transparent for our customers through our Serve Good and Progress Check programs.
Our Serve Good program, dedicated to products that meet responsible sourcing claims and adhere to strict Serve Good packaging standards, includes seafood products that are certified sustainable to leading industry recognized standards, with Chain of Custody where applicable.
Farmed Species carry a Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) 4 star, or have the highest level of BAP available for the species or equivalent Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) benchmarked certifications, where US Foods has the associated Chain of Custody certification.
Wild-Caught species carry a Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and MSC Chain of Custody certification, or equivalent Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) benchmarked certifications, where US Foods has the associated Chain of Custody certification.
Our Progress Check program recognizes seafood products and vendors that have made significant progress towards meeting our Serve Good program standards.
Wild-Caught species carry a GSSI benchmarked certification where US Foods does not have an associated Chain of Custody certification; or Fishery Improvement Project rated, “A, B or C” by FishSource of Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP); or Low Risk as advised by FishSource of SFP.
Farmed species carry BAP 1 Star, 2 Star or 3 Star recognition; or Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) Certified without associated ASC Chain of Custody certification; or GSSI benchmarked certification where US Foods does not have an associated chain of custody certification; or Participant in the Aquaculture Improvement Project (AIP); or Equivalent certification or improvement projects will also be considered.
Because ongoing dialogue is critical to supporting sustainable seafood practices, we actively participate and partner with leading organizations dedicated to informing seafood sustainability best practices. We sit on the Board of the National Fisheries Institute, and we are an active member of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, and the first American foodservice distributor to join the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI). In 2015, US Foods was the first nationwide foodservice distributor in the United States to earn the Marine Stewardship Council Chain of Custody certification, a certification that requires, among other things, the implementation of extensive traceability procedures within our distribution centers.
We are proud of our efforts around sourcing sustainable seafood, and are committed to continually reviewing and implementing best practices across our seafood supply chain.
Given the potential environmental and social risks associated with palm oil production, we began working with our suppliers in 2017 to transition the palm and palm kernel oil used in US Foods Exclusive Brand products to responsibly sourced palm oil. Our palm oil policy lays out our commitment to source 100% of the palm or palm kernel oil used in US Foods Exclusive Brand products, through certified sustainable sources such as RSPO Mass Balance, Identity Preserved or Segregated Supply Chain, or equivalent standard, by December 31, 2019. If a physical supply is unavailable, RSPO Credits will be required to cover that material to support the production of CSPO. To date, we are on track to meet our sourcing commitment.
Cage Free Eggs
US Foods is committed to providing foodservice operators with products that are responsibly sourced. In conjunction with our Serve Good program, in June 2016 we became one of the first broadline distributors to introduce a nationally available Cage Free Pasteurized Liquid Whole Egg product under a private label brand. This product, which is American Humane Certified by the American Humane Association, combines the safety of pasteurization with the humane treatment of hens raised in a cage free environment.
In July 2016, we began informing all of our key egg suppliers of our goal to source only cage free eggs by 2026. We will collaborate with our suppliers throughout this process to assess availability, affordability and customer demand.
In 2017, US Foods introduced the Unpronounceables List™ initiative in response to growing diner demand for products with simpler, more recognizable ingredients. All Metro Deli®, Rykoff Sexton®, Chef’s Line® and Stock Yards®* Exclusive Brand products are produced with clean label profiles by avoiding, removing or replacing certain ingredients and food additives found on our Unpronounceables List. To date, we offer more than 1,000 products that meet our Unpronounceables List initiative guidelines.
In 2018, we launched Serve Local in select markets to better connect our customers with their local farmers, producers and/or manufacturers. Products offered through Serve Local are sourced within 400 miles from where we ship or within the state from where we ship.
FOOD SAFETY AND QUALITY
As one of the largest foodservice distributors in the United States, we take our commitment to food safety and associate food safety training seriously. We employ food safety and quality experts to train and support our facility staff in important food safety practices, to oversee food safety and quality across our supply chain, and to help ensure ongoing compliance with applicable food safety and quality laws and regulations. These experts hold certifications in key food safety areas such as Preventive Controls Qualified Individuals (PCQI), Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) and Seafood HACCP. In addition, our facilities receive annual, independent third-party audits to ensure we are meeting strict food safety and quality requirements. These include requirements under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which aims to strengthen the U.S. food safety system and other third-party standards, such as Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) standards.
Despite the many safety precautions taken by our vendors and our company, occasional product recalls are necessary. When that happens, we are prepared with a product recall and recovery program that promptly contacts customers with accurate information about the recalled product and initiates the product recovery in our facilities. Our affected customers are contacted within 24 hours upon notification from our suppliers.
*Does not include product marketed and sold by third-party licensees.
Please note that information contained herein does not include data from SGA’s Food Group of Companies, which US Foods acquired in September 2019.