MEALsource are Trendsetters

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

MEALsource recently hosted their annual Food Forum in downtown Hamilton, once again, to rave reviews.

The Food Forum brings member procurement specialists together in an intimate setting where they can collaboratively discuss, sample, review and question a multitude of food industry producers and distributors.

Carrying forth the notion of constant improvement and efficiencies, the MEALsource team recognized that hosting a large group in an auditorium setting, (as they had done in the past) was less than optimal for participation. Few people would be assertive or comfortable enough to raise their hand and pose a question during a large format presentation. It was soon realized that most of the questioning was done afterward in the halls and amongst ad hoc gatherings after the presentation.

For this reason, for later iterations of the Food Forum it was decided that MEALsource would designate multiple smaller groups that would rotate through a variety of different presentations. The presentations to each group highlighted the benefits of their products in three specific ways:

1.         Preparation
2.         Nutrition
3.         Price Point

This more intimate setting was of benefit to both the vendors and the facility representatives in that there were more tailored presentations and more specific questions and participation.

Food services in healthcare is rather unique. In addition to variety, healthcare has a high demand for customized products and solutions. MEALsource are trendsetters in the industry in this respect. As a self-operated, non-profit food services GPO, MEALsource has the unique ability to challenge producers to create solutions for these requirements by generating the demand through their group procurement initiatives.

MEALsource has been exceptionally resourceful in building key partnerships and advisory roles to the benefit of all our member hospitals. They have been involved in numerous projects with various groups such as the Greenbelt Fund of Ontario, My Sustainable Canada, The McConnel Family Foundation, the Nourish Program and are committee members on the South Central Ontario Region Foodhub to name a few.

The team at MEALsource is another shining example of what customer service means. In addition to helping members obtain food and nutrition products at the lowest possible price, MEALsource has been recognized as a Local Food Champion for outstanding efforts in promoting the acquisition of local-grown food in healthcare to deliver the highest quality nutrition possible. MEALsource has led the way healthcare facility procurement has been accomplished with annual Food Forums, customized member solutions and optimal value that has kept their member roster growing for over 20 years.

“The most valuable of MEALsources benefits is by far, customer service. They take the time to understand everyones needs, they are never too busy to take a call, and their follow-up and integrity are so appreciated. The service doesnt stop once the contract has been formalized. Throughout the life of the agreement, there is constant follow-up and updates. An example would be a labour issue that caused certain products to be in short supply. MEALsource alerted us to the situation and then provided a timely solution.”

Luis Pacheco, Senior Procurement Specialist
St. Michaels Hospital

MEALsource is a leader in driving change to more high value, sustainable patterns of procurement in health care. Aware of the cycle that business is often won by the incumbent, the team proactively goes out into the field to do vendor education to help build capacity for supply of more high quality, local sustainable foods. As an organization, they consistently take the long-view to do what is good for the memberspatients and residents and what is good for the planet. MEALsource has been an invaluable contributor to the work of our Nourish cohort, helping to build capacity for more value-based procurement, and to help realize the vision of public dollars working for the public good.”

Hayley LaPalme, Program Designer - Nourish