Values-based institutional food procurement programs
A narrative review
Keywords:Institutional Procurement, Foodservice, Higher Education, Values-based Supply Chains, Local Food Systems, Farm-to-Institution, Good Food Purchasing Program, Real Food Challenge, Sustainability, Social Justice, Transparency
Food provided in school cafeterias, hospitals, prisons, and institutions of higher education is referred to as “institutional foodservice.” Values-based institutional foodservice procurement programs are designed to prioritize certain values or criteria, such as environmental sustainability or local economies, in addition to price when purchasing food for institutional settings. Organizations and programs have been developed to provide guidance and monitoring for institutions seeking to adopt and implement values-based procurement programs. These programs have increased consumer and decision-maker awareness of opportunities to leverage institutional purchasing to support food systems change. Institutions that have adopted values-based procurement policies have documented increases in purchases of local, sustainable food from cooperatively and independently owned farms. While organizations supporting values-based institutional procurement have made documented progress in supporting food systems change, there have been difficulties with adopting and adhering to these organizations’ standards. Because institutional policy adoption and implementation requires a substantial amount of effort, practitioners should be aware of these difficulties in advance of making purchasing commitments.
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