Verdict: In Maine, Big Food Service wins again

Verdict: In Maine, Big Food Service wins again

Catering giant Sodexo lands a $12.5-million-dollar campus dining contract; local food co-op doesn’t

By Kate Cox February 3, 2016 2 Comments

University of Maine

The University of Maine System announced in a press release on Tuesday it will award its dining hall, retail and food catering services contract for six of the seven UMS campuses to France-based food service provider Sodexo. The contract award process had attracted wide attention in the food community after a proposal put together by a coalition of Maine food producers was a finalist for the contract, along with Sodexo and current contract holder Aramark. (Read The New Food Economy’s coverage of the story here.)

The Maine Farm & Sea Cooperative, the nation’s first food services co-op, was inspired to make a play for the contract after the university committed itself to purchasing 20 percent of its food locally by 2020. The coalition upped the ante—promising to achieve 20 percent local sourcing in its first year. That promise wasn’t enough to win the contract, but it was apparently enough to encourage Sodexo to take a more aggressive approach to local sourcing than it had been expected to take. MORE