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Compass Group Supports Local Farmers Nationally

By Reuters

'It Takes You - Eat Local' Produce Campaign Targets Accounts Coast to Coast

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Sept. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of their commitment to sustainable agriculture and wellness, Compass Group North America is supporting local farmers nationally with a promotion called "It Takes You -Eat Local" - a week long, cross-company campaign taking place the week of September 21, 2009. During that week, cafes around the country will feature locally grown produce and information about their local farms.

With 'buying locally' defined as food grown within a 150 mile radius, Compass Group North America's goal is to support local farmers by promoting local produce, as part of their overall pledge of encouraging responsible and sustainable practices in their supply chain. The promotion will educate customers about sustainability practices, and how buying local affects the communities in which they live.

Compass Group is also creating awareness of the many health benefits of eating healthy and buying local by partnering with The Produce for Better Health Foundation which sponsors Fruits & Veggies--More Matters(TM) initiative that encourages increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables for better health.

"Fruits and vegetables provide the unrivaled combination of great taste, nutrition, abundant variety, and multiple product forms," said Elizabeth Pivonka, Ph.D., R.D., president and CEO of Produce for Better Health Foundation, the nonprofit entity behind the Fruits & Veggies--More Matters(R) national public health initiative. "Eating fruits and veggies matters so much in maintaining a healthy weight and may reduce the risk of many diseases."

With over 10,000 accounts in the United States, Compass has been supporting 'buy local' initiatives for over ten years. In the past twelve months alone, Compass Group has spent over $15 million on local produce purchases. Purchasing is done through approved produce distributors to ensure food safety and traceability.

In tandem with the promotion is Compass' AG in the Middle program - a plan to develop partnerships with 2,013 American family farms by 2013. It brings the produce of mid-sized farms faster, and more efficiently, into its supply chain through their network of distributors across the country. Chefs and managers are also encouraged to establish relationships with farmers in their regions to buy and promote seasonally available produce in their accounts.

Participating operating companies include Eurest Dining Services, Morrison Management Specialists, Chartwells, FLIK International and FLIK Independent Schools. During the week, accounts will be encouraged to feature at least one or more locally grown produce items on their menus daily, such as apples, tomatoes, corn, peppers, yellow squash, zucchini, cabbage and eggplants.

Compass Group's hope is that by supporting small and mid-size farms today, farmers will continue to thrive in local communities tomorrow.

Marc Zammit, VP Corporate Sustainability Initiatives and Culinary summarizes the project, "Not only are we doing our part to preserve the legacy of the American family farm, but by buying locally, we are also reducing the miles used for transport, thereby reducing our carbon footprint. The produce is fresher and has a longer shelf life, and unique regional flavors can be protected and cultivated. Seeing our purchasing power have such an immediate impact on our communities makes it all worthwhile."

About Compass Group North America
Based in Charlotte NC, Compass Group North America is the leading foodservice and support services company with $9 billion in revenues in 2008. With 388,000 associates worldwide, its parent company, UK-based Compass Group PLC had revenues of 11 billion pounds Sterling in the year to September 30, 2008.

SOURCE Compass Group

Sarah Hada, Compass Group North America, +1-704-328-1365, [email protected]

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