Sourcing

Darden operates a diverse, global supply chain to ensure our guests always enjoy great food in our restaurants, every day.

We source products from 1,500 suppliers in more than 35 countries around the world who share our commitment to ethical business conduct; fair labor practices; proven environmental, health and safety practices; animal welfare; and sustainability.

Supplier Code of Conduct

Darden maintains a Supplier Code of Conduct, which outlines our expectations in areas such as ethical business practices; anti-corruption; human rights and labor laws; environmental, health and safety practices; and legal compliance. All of our suppliers provide affirmation that they have read and understand the Code and agree to adhere to its provisions. In addition, our suppliers are audited to ensure they are meeting our high expectations.

Animal Welfare

Darden takes animal welfare very seriously. We have a responsibility to ensure that animals are treated with respect and care in the process of providing nutritious food that is served in our restaurants. Our Animal Welfare Policy defines Darden’s position and outlines our approach and commitments to animal welfare. A key tenet of our approach is to work with protein suppliers who are committed to the improvement of animal welfare. We expect our suppliers to share our commitment to the ‘Five Freedoms’ of care throughout the life of farm animals and to also provide a valid and verified animal welfare certification.

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst
  • Freedom from discomfort
  • Freedom from pain, injury or disease
  • Freedom to express normal behavior
  • Freedom from fear and distress

Improved Animal Welfare Outcomes: Our goal is that Darden’s suppliers will contribute to measurable, continuous improvements in animal welfare outcomes by 2025, as outlined in our animal welfare policy. Darden will work with our suppliers, industry peers, and our Animal Welfare Advisory Council to define these metrics in 2020 in line with developments in welfare measurement methods. We will begin by pilot testing new measurement approaches with strategic suppliers in 2019.

Poultry: In partnership with our poultry suppliers, we will continue to seek improvements that result in healthy biological function, expression of natural behavior and humane processing.

In addition, Darden is committed to purchasing chicken raised without the use of medically important antibiotics by 2023 and will continue to work with suppliers on monitoring responsible antibiotic usage.

Pork: Since 2016, Darden has committed to work with pork suppliers to limit the use of gestation crates for housing pregnant sows, with a goal to source only gestation-crate free pork by 2025. The majority of our suppliers today have made a commitment to housing improvements.

Eggs: 100% of all egg products purchased by Darden are sourced from cage-free housing systems.

Antibiotics

Darden requires its suppliers to comply with the FDA guidelines which recommend that antibiotics that are important in human medicine no longer be used with farm animals for growth purposes, and shared-class antibiotics (i.e., those used both humans and animals) only be used to treat, prevent and control disease in farm animals under the supervision of a veterinarian. We will continue to monitor compliance that all of our land-based protein supply meets these guidelines.

In addition, Darden is committed to purchasing chicken raised without the use of medically important antibiotics by 2023 and will continue to work with suppliers on monitoring responsible antibiotic usage.

Beef & Sustainability

As part of our land-based protein stewardship efforts, we are also focused on the issue of beef and sustainability. Beef comprises one of the largest portions of our food basket, with more than 90% of Darden’s beef coming from the United States and the remaining supply from Australia.

We believe that advancing sustainability in the beef industry is essential for all stakeholders in the beef value chain and, while Darden is and will remain a relatively small buyer within the total beef market, we are nonetheless committed to helping find solutions that reduce the environmental impacts of beef production and support the livelihoods of beef producers. To this end, Darden is partnering with the U.S. Roundtable on Sustainable Beef, the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, and our suppliers to support research, identify best practices, and promote improved practices. As a founding member of the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, Darden will continue to support the sustainability priority areas established across the beef value chain, including animal welfare indicators. We also support the industry-wide assurance programs such as BQA (Beef Quality Assurance).