As the 2010 Winter Olympic Games start Feb. 12 in Vancouver, foodservice providers are busy trucking in tons of produce to feed athletes, tourists and the tens of thousands of other people visiting the city.

Canadian foodservice has Olympics covered

Courtesy Ocean Spray

Foodservice companies in Vancouver have been working with extra orders and unconventional shipping schedules for two weeks to accommodate road closures and security requirements.

Brent Abraham, Gordon Food Service Canada Co.’s 2010 Olympic project lead, said it is the first Olympics the company is supplying and will probably increase sales by about 7% overall. Richmond, British Colombia-based GFS is supplying Sodexo, the caterer for some of the Olympics busiest venues, including the athletes' villages in Vancouver and Whistler, and Abraham said in those venues alone they are supplying food to feed about 10,000 people per day.

“It’s pretty manageable for us,” Abraham said.

Abraham said GFS hasn’t taken on extra suppliers for all the oranges, lettuce, tomatoes and other produce items they are sending to the seven venues they are supplying. California companies like Tanimura & Antle and Markon Cooperative are produce suppliers to GFS for the games, he said. The company is also still filling orders for hundreds of businesses in downtown Vancouver, as well as supplying produce to feed the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other security services for the games.

He estimated GFS is supplying about 40% of the venues and capturing about 60% of the money Olympics has available for food services. Despite this, Abraham said the extra business is similar to the volume of orders the company fills during peak summer months.

Spokespersons for Sodexo and for the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee were not available Feb. 11.

Carl Svangtun, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Sun Rich Fresh Foods Inc., Richmond, said it is sending extra supplies of its ready to eat fresh-cut fruit products to hotels, restaurants, grocery and chain stores, all serving areas near the Olympic events and some suppliers to Olympic venues.

“We’re big enough that it’s not a significant enough increase” to require extra suppliers of fruit to fill orders, Svangtun said. Sun Rich is sourcing fruit from California, Chile, and other areas of Latin America, Svangtun said.

Popular produce items FreshPoint Vancouver FoodServices, a part of Sysco Corp., is supplying to Olympics venues, including the media center, and other business are strawberries and raspberries, said Bill Hum, assistant general manager. Hum said the company is sourcing a lot of produce from California for the games.

“It really is exciting to see everyone getting geared up,” Hum said.