In its largest vertical farming relationship to date, US Foods Holding Corp. is partnering with hydroponic indoor vertical farming company Kalera as it further its commitment to offering foodservice operators a broad assortment of high-quality produce year-round.
As part of the agreement—which expands portfolio of local farms that US Foods is sourcing from, in support of its Serve Local program—Kalera and its seed technology business Vindara will work with US Foods to develop and launch new products.
“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, SVP of produce category management for US Foods, in a news statement. “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.”
Based in Orlando, Kalera’s indoor farms use proprietary technology and plant and seed science to grow greens such as whole head lettuce, salad mix blends, microgreens, burger leaf toppers and arugula. With this partnership, Kalera will be able to distribute up to 50% of its U.S. production to restaurants and the foodservice industry.
”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, in a statement. “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.”
US Foods is a foodservice distributor that partners with approximately 250,000 restaurants and foodservice operators. Its Serve Local program launched in 2018 and aims to better connect US Foods customers with regional farmers, producers and/or manufacturers.
Kalera currently operates farms in the United States in Atlanta, Denver, Houston and Orlando. They also have farms in Munich and Kuwait.