Bon Appétit Management Company proves buying local food is scalable for business with landmark of $55 million in purchases; the 80% increase in purchases from small farms is a major milestone for food service
Palo Alto, Calif. (February 6, 2007) -Demonstrating that buying from small local farms is a scalable business model for food service, Bon Appétit Management Company announces that annual purchases from farmers and artisans have reached $55mm, accounting for 30% of its total food purchasing expenditures in 2006.
The $55mm figure is close to an 80% percent increase over 2005 purchases of $30mm. According to data from FarmToCollege.org, Bon Appétit’s annual expenditures on local foods far exceed that of any other food service company
With concern over our national food production at an all-time high, sustainable sourcing policies such as Bon Appétit’s are critical to strengthening America’s food supply. A viable business alternative to buying from large industrial organic farms, often located across the country or even overseas, local sourcing keeps small farms in business and makes fresh, seasonal, whole foods more available to consumers.
“Small family farms deserve our full commitment, and most especially our financial support,” said Fedele Bauccio, CEO of Bon Appétit Management Company. “In the absence of a Farm Bill that performs this function, we are proud that our business model strengthens farm health and improves America’s food security. We challenge all food service and restaurant companies to buy local.”
The $55mm in local purchases originated in Bon Appétit’s Farm to Fork program, which stipulates that a minimum of 20% of purchases in all of its 400 cafes come from local farmers or artisan producers. Bon Appétit defines local as grown within 150 miles of the café where the food is served. Farm to Fork has been a company policy since 1999, making Bon Appétit the first and still the only company to enact a system-wide local purchasing policy. Today, the company purchases from over 560 individual farms across the nation.
“Bon Appétit has helped our farms thrive, even through harsh weather and harvest fluctuations. During last season’s peach harvest, one of our farmers ended up with 300 cases of peaches that needed to be sold or they would rot on the trees. Our local Bon Appétit chefs bought the entire harvest, a move that convinced the grower to keep his farm in business, although he had been considering selling the land. They have been a true partner,” said Anya Fernald, Food Program Director of Community Alliance with Family Farmers. Direct purchases from local farms can also have a positive impact on the environment, reducing the amount of fuel consumed in transporting food long distances. Recent data shows that food in America travels an average of 1,300 miles from where it is grown to its final destination on the dinner plate. 16% of energy consumption in the US is expended on the food system, according to the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.
About Bon Appétit Management Company
Bon Appétit Management Co. is an onsite restaurant company offering full food service management to corporations, universities and specialty venues. Bon Appétit is committed to sourcing sustainable, local foods for all cafés throughout the country. A pioneer in environmentally sound sourcing policies, Bon Appétit has developed programs with Environmental Defense, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, the Humane Society of the United States, and other leading conservation organizations. Based in Palo Alto, CA, Bon Appétit has more than 400 cafes in 28 states, including Oracle Corporation, American University and the Getty Center. www.bamco.com