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Baldor Specialty Foods Launches 'Pledge Local' Campaign

Editors Apr 22 , 2016

Hunts Point, NY – Baldor Specialty Foods, the East Coast’s premier food distributor, introduced an industry-first “Pledge Local” program today that turns a decade of farm-to-table marketing on its head. Rather than rallying restaurants to change purchasing behavior, the company will take the unconventional step of asking them to do nothing at all. Through taking The Local Pledge, chefs can continue to place their typical commodity orders for produce, dairy and other items like meat and cheese. But, they will authorize Baldor to substitute comparable local ingredients whenever they are available. This system relieves food-buyers of burdensome tasks like researching new farms, onboarding vendors and retraining staff while also guaranteeing that pledge participants maximize their local spend. The company believes that the frictionless approach will engage a whole new customer base and change the face of local food distribution as a result.

“We were really stuck on how to grow our local program.” Said Ben Walker, Baldor’s Director of Marketing. “Each season, we heard increased demand for local products. But, we weren’t seeing actual sales increase on par with the demand. It became clear that customers were unable to navigate challenges associated with major shifts in procurement strategy. The Local Pledge is our solution for chefs who want to buy local, but don’t have the time, labor or funds to make it happen.”

Though unconventional, The Local Pledge has captured the attention of the restaurant community. The campaign does not launch until March 29th, but Baldor has already received commitments from major industry players including The Rennaissance Hotel and Fresh & Co. The company has also identified nearly 500 restaurant customers with purchase histories that indicate prime compatibility with the program. With the support of these customers, Baldor expects to see double digit year-over-year growth in its local category during 2016.

All customers who take the pledge will be verified for certification based on their local purchases. Upon receiving local certification, participants will be featured on a digital map on the company’s website. This map will promote local supporters and create a reliable source of information for conscientious diners. When asked about The Local Pledge, CEO TJ Murphy pointed to a key feature of the certification program. “Right now, there is no certificate that relies exclusively on sales data,” he said. “Our program will verify customers based not on what they say, but on what they buy. We think that this information will be game-changing for diners and businesses alike.”