Foodservice distributors are in business to sell food, but they also give a lot away. U.S. Foodservice (USF) is a case in point. The nation’s No. 2 distributor has made supporting food- and hunger-related charities a key corporate mission.
Its latest campaign is designed to help fill food pantries with fresh fruits and vegetables. To make it happen, USF ran a special price on its Recipes from the Heart cookbook and donating all proceeds to Feeding America (formerly America’s Second Harvest). The book, which features 385 recipes contributed by USF employees and edited by the distributor’s culinary team, normally sells for $24.99, but is specially priced at $14.99. The promotion, which kicked off in July, ran through October 15. Books can still be ordered at www.fullplatesfulllives.com or by calling 800-328-9800.
The cookbook highlights family recipes—a grandma’s specialty, a husband’s favorite, a tailgate standby or holiday treat. Many include personal stories from their contributors about the recipes’ origins and what makes them family favorites. Celebrity chef Paula Deen, whose two restaurants are supplied by USF, wrote the forward.
Other operators have gotten involved, as well. “We’ve distributed the book to many of our customers to help raise awareness of what we’re doing and of the need out there,” says Mark Eggerding, a corporate chef and senior vice president of street sales at USF. “And we sponsor tie-in events at the local level to support food pantries. We recently hosted a Food from the Heart event at our Virginia branch, for instance, which featured local chefs who donated their time and talent to prepare the food. The ante
to get in was a bag of groceries. We gave back 250 bags of groceries to local food pantries. Those types of things are going on at USF divisions across the country.”
Other recent examples include USF Phoenix partnering with two local food banks and the Minnesota division donating more than 25,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables.
All told, U.S. Foodservice has raised more than $4 million for hunger relief.
2008 Sales: $1.8 billion
ID Top 50 Rank: 2
Web sites: www.usfoodservice.com & www.fullplatesfulllives.com