With the sustainability of our food supply in peril, we all must do our part by sourcing ingredients that are cultivated responsibly. To that end, sustainability is an essential component of our ingredient procurement process. As part of our ongoing efforts to promote sustainability, our culinary and procurement teams make every effort to utilize local and organically farmed produce, source sustainable seafood, and utilize meat and poultry suppliers that maintain high industry standards related to sustainability and the humane treatment of animals. We continue to work towards the goal of having fully sustainable ingredients in all of our delicious hors dâ€™oeuvre selections.
We have developed an agriculture policy that requires our suppliers to encourage the cautious use of fertilizers, pesticides and preservatives in their crops and their suppliersâ€™ crops. We encourage our suppliers to limit their energy usage and recycle their water supply, wherever possible. Further, we monitor 3rd party freight carriers to ensure the clean and effective handling of all the agricultural products that they are responsible for transporting.
At Gourmet Kitchen, we believe in the importance of supporting local businesses in our community. We are committed to â€œknowing the story behind the food,â€ and make every effort to utilize local and organically farmed produce to understand the process in which we procure our fruits and vegetables.
We hold small local farmers to the same high food safety standards as our other larger suppliers to ensure that we are getting the safest and best quality ingredients for our products. We strive to promote sustainable farming practices amongst our local suppliers that also help to protect the economic conditions of our local communities.
We require all of our meat and seafood suppliers to provide Letters of Guarantee that ensure the quality and wholesomeness of the products that we purchase and that the suppliers meet government and industry standards related to the proper treatment of animals. This includes the handling, housing, transportation and slaughter of the animals. Gourmet Kitchenâ€™s policy ensures that we make our best efforts to ensure that our meat and poultry suppliers complete ongoing self assessments to meet government and industry standards.
We understand the significance of maintaining a safe seafood supply and we continually assess our current supply by sourcing sustainably harvested seafood wherever possible. Gourmet Kitchen utilizes responsible suppliers that have policies related to sustainability and maintaining the seafood population and the ecosystems in which the marine animals live. We rely on our suppliers to practice safe and responsible fishing methods and our procurement team does not purchase seafood that originates in any country that does not adhere to the safety and sustainability standards in our industry.
At Gourmet Kitchen, we firmly believe in the importance of maintaining efficient energy use and are committed to reducing the amount of energy required to run our facility. There are many ways in which we strive to improve our energy consumption and limit our footprint on the planet and we are committed to continually improving how we operate the business. Our improvements extend through each department including distribution, manufacturing, purchasing, and in our daily operations. In addition to the benefits to the environment, we also understand the cost benefits to developing an energy efficient policy. As such, we continually utilize cutting edge energy conservation tools and technology to run a more energy efficient business.
The freight and distribution segment of our economy plays a significant role in the safety of the environment. We, therefore, are committed to making our transportation practices more conducive to a healthy and safe environment. We invested in a software program, FleetMatics, to help us track every facet of distribution, such as routing, reducing idling and improving fuel efficiency. We work out efficient routing schedules to reduce our driverâ€™s time on the road and reduce their fuel consumption. We have developed a process of back hauling deliveries from our suppliers to limit the number of trucks delivering to our docks. This practice significantly reduces the amount of trucks that are on the road making deliveries to facility. These practices help reduce our fuel costs and are a more efficient way of handling inbound and outbound freight.