US Foods Partners With Vertical Farming Innovator Kalera® to Expand Its Local and Sustainable Fresh Produce Portfolio
National Vertical Farming Partnership for US Foods Brings Consistent Year-Round Availability of High-Quality Leafy Greens to Customers
US Foods Holding Corp. (NYSE: USFD) today announced a strategic agreement with Kalera®, one of the world's leading hydroponic indoor vertical farming companies. This is US Foods' largest vertical farming relationship to date. The agreement underscores US Foods' commitment to bringing foodservice operators a broad assortment of high-quality produce, year-round. It will also expand the portfolio of local farms that US Foods is sourcing from in various markets in support of its growing Serve Local program. As part of the agreement, Kalera and its wholly owned seed technology business Vindara, will work closely with US Foods to develop and launch new products to US Foods customers in markets across the country.
Kalera will bring consistently fresh, sustainable produce year-round to US Foods through its network of controlled environment, indoor farms. The innovative indoor farms use clean room technology, advanced proprietary equipment, and plant and seed science to provide a wide range of high-quality greens such as whole head lettuce, salad mix blends, microgreens, burger leaf toppers, and arugula with less water as compared to traditional field farming.
"Our agreement with Kalera will fundamentally change the manner in which vertical farmed products are made available to restaurants and other foodservice operators across our footprint," said Josh Waters, senior vice president of produce category management for US Foods. "We are energized by the high-quality, sustainably grown, year-round offerings that will be available to US Foods customers in partnership with Kalera, and we look forward to continuing to grow our produce portfolio and partnering on new product offerings in the future."
"US Foods and Kalera are helping to bring the future of farming to the foodservice industry today," said Curtis McWilliams, Chairman-elect and former CEO of Kalera. "This relationship will help set a precedence for the foodservice industry by providing customers with accessible fresh produce all year-round thanks to US Foods."
For Kalera, the partnership represents an opportunity to allocate up to 50% of its United States production capacity to the restaurant and food service industry. Kalera currently operates farms in the United States in Atlanta, Denver, Houston, and Orlando, as well as in Munich and Kuwait. The company also has five farms under construction in Seattle, Columbus, Ohio, Honolulu, St. Paul, Minn.; and Singapore.
About US Foods
With a promise to help its customers Make It, US Foods is one of America's great food companies and a leading foodservice distributor, partnering with approximately 250,000 restaurants and foodservice operators to help their businesses succeed. With 69 broadline locations and more than 80 cash and carry stores, US Foods and its 28,000 associates provides its customers with a broad and innovative food offering and a comprehensive suite of e-commerce, technology and business solutions. US Foods is headquartered in Rosemont, Ill. Visit www.usfoods.com to learn more.
About US Foods Serve Local Program
US Foods launched the Serve Local program in 2018, in select markets to better connect US Foods customers with regional farmers, producers and/or manufacturers. Products offered through Serve Local are sourced within 400 miles from the location where US Foods ships the product or within the state from where US Foods ships the product.
Kalera is a vertical farming company headquartered in Orlando, Florida. Kalera uses proprietary technology and plant and seed science to sustainably grow year-round, local, non-GMO leafy greens that are nutrient-rich. It has spent years optimizing plant nutrient formulas and developing an advanced automation and data acquisition system with Internet of Things, cloud, big data analytics and artificial intelligence capabilities. Kalera currently operates farms in the U.S. (Orlando, Atlanta, Houston, and Denver) as well as in Munich and Kuwait. Additional farms are in development. More information is available at www.kalera.com.