US Foods partners with indoor vertical farm
US Foods Holding Corp. 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.
The partnership 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 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 percent of its U.S. production capacity to the restaurant and foodservice 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, OH, Honolulu, St. Paul, MN, and Singapore.