Sysco Foodies - © Sysco Canada

COVID-19: Biggest Commercial Supplier ‘Brings It Home’

We’ve all heard about how the food supply chain has been turned upside down by the closure of so many restaurants during the COVID-19 crisis. Now, the largest Canadian supplier of restaurant food products has launched a direct-to-consumers service to help get the food that’s out there to the folks who need it…

Sysco at HOME - © 2020 Sysco CanadaThe Sysco@Home homepage: Just give it your Postal Code and it will give
you a local Sysco ‘store’ location. Click on the resulting link
and go shopping for restaurant-sized foods…

Sysco Canada, the country’s largest supplier of bulk foods to restaurants and institutions, has just launched a shop-from-home service they’re calling Sysco@HOME.

“With Sysco@HOME, consumers can purchase high-quality grocery items – providing both a convenient source for grocery staples that may currently be hard to find and a great opportunity to elevate your at-home food experience,” said Randy White, President of Sysco Canada.

You can find the nearest location by entering your postal code at the website and then click to a catalogue of the items available there. They’ve got everything you need to prepare your fave meals. You fill your online shopping card and pay online, then drive up to the Sysco ‘store’ and take delivery contactlessly. They bring out your order and place it in your trunk.

But there’s a catch…

A quick glance at the Catalogue reveals that the foods items available are all in restaurant-sized packages, with prices to match. For instance:

  • Arctic Garden Frozen Broccoli – 8 x 1kg bag [$6.75/bag] Value Bag – $54.00
  • Beef Ground Lean Chuck – 2 x 5lb. frozen ($4.50/lb.) – $45.00
  • Classic Hamburger Bun – 4.5 in. – 12pc. x 4 bags ($0.67 per bun) – $32.00
  • Frozen Vegetable Mix – Cauliflower, Broccoli, and Carrot – Packed 6 x 2kg ($2.66/kg) – $64.00

Get the picture? How big is your freezer?

Supporting Foodies Unite

Sysco is also sponsoring the Foodies Unite movement, described at its website as, “a nationwide community support initiative, powered by Sysco. We are leveraging our network to support the continuity of food supply across Canada, help heal the Foodservice industry, help our customers, and help fight hunger through food relief partnerships to serve communities most in need.”

“As a part of our Foodies Unite initiative, Sysco Canada will also donate 15 meals for every Sysco@HOME grocery order to hunger relief organizations through May 4th, 2020.”

My take

I think this is another great example of good corporate citizenship and community service during the pandemic. But I also think that Sysco has mountains of food in its warehouses and more arriving daily on automatic delivery due to standing orders with growers and producers. The warehouses will hold only so much, and supply is outpacing demand at an unprecedented rate because the majority of its regular restaurant customers are not buying. They’ve got to move all that product somehow, and offering it directly to the public is about the only way to do that.

But there is an up side to the Sysco@HOME initiative, in as much as Canadian  supermarkets are currently having trouble keeping products on the shelves. In fact, supermarkets have experienced a 38 percent increase in demand since the restaurants closed and folks started cooking at home again. There’s no shortage of food; just under-supply in the retail supply chain and oversupply in the commercial, Foodservice supply chain. Sysco@HOME levels the playing field a little.

Why not just get the supermarkets ordering their products from Sysco? Remember those restaurant-sized, bulk packages? Most folks wouldn’t usually buy that much of anything at one time. But these are unusual times…

~ Maggie J.