Food Principles

Darden has a rich culinary history of serving delicious meals to our guests every day. We know great food starts with quality ingredients that are sustainably sourced.

Every day we work hard to carefully prepare and serve meals our guests enjoy eating. And the food we serve will continue to evolve to address guest preferences and needs. We use quality ingredients in our recipes to prepare hand-crafted dishes in our restaurants that appeal to a range of taste preferences and dietary needs. Our ingredients are carefully sourced from suppliers who share Darden’s commitment to maintaining best-in-class food safety, quality, sustainability and ethical business conduct.

Great food starts with quality ingredients...

As a restaurant company, Darden acknowledges that where our ingredients come from and how they are grown are integral to preparing great food for our guests.

Food safety has always been our top priority, and we promise to use ingredients that meet our high standards for safe, wholesome food. To do that, we continue to implement best-in-class food safety and total quality programs, both in our restaurants and with our suppliers, every day. We are also mindful of the sustainability of ingredients, including the social and environmental benefits of the food we buy for generations to come.

We are committed to empowering our guests to make informed decisions about the food they eat by providing information about nutritional content and allergens.

...that are sustainably sourced.

We support a broad community of farmers and other suppliers who work hard to help us bring great food to our tables. Given our mutual interests, we expect our suppliers to share our commitment to doing business the right way.

As we source our ingredients, Darden maintains our Supplier Code of Conduct, which outlines our expectations for our suppliers in areas such as ethical business practices; anti-corruption; human rights and labor laws; environmental, health and safety practices; and legal compliance.

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 approach to animal welfare and auditing our suppliers is to ultimately ensure the ‘Five Freedoms’ of care throughout the life of farm animals. This guidance on humane animal treatment directs our practices as well as our selection of, and relationship with, sourcing partners.

Darden is a family of leading restaurants with talented teams who are passionate about serving great food and creating memorable experiences for our guests, and giving back to local communities by donating surplus food to those in need through our Harvest program. Everything we do is focused on preparing hand-crafted meals through culinary excellence, food safety, and stewardship of natural resources. And we do this every day, beginning with quality ingredients and ending with great meals.

Our Commitments

  • By Dec. 2016, antibiotics important to human medicine will be phased out from use with farm animals for growth promotion and all of our land-based protein suppliers will only use shared-class antibiotics (i.e. those used for both humans and animals) to treat, prevent and control animal illness under the supervision of a veterinarian.
  • Darden is working with its suppliers to ensure they are positioned to remove partially-hydrogenated oils (PHOs) from all products by the end of 2016, a year ahead of the FDA removal mandate.
  • By 2018, 100% of all egg products, both whole and liquid, purchased by Darden will be cage-free.
  • Darden is committed to favoring suppliers who are leading the industry, and the Company has established a goal that by 2025 all pork products purchased will be gestation crate-free.

Update on Our Commitments

We continue to engage with our suppliers regarding our Food Principles and commitments to our Guests, and have reviewed these important values with them.  As we make progress in these areas, we will continue to share updates.

As of January 1, 2017, our suppliers are prohibited by law from using antibiotics important to human medicine for growth promotion with farm animals and we continue to monitor their compliance.  Additionally, antibiotics important to human medicine shall only be used to treat, prevent and control animal illness under the supervision of a veterinarian.

We successfully worked with our suppliers to ensure all partially-hydrogenated oils (PHOs) have been removed from our ingredients.

Lastly, we are on track to meet our goal of sourcing all of our egg products from cage-free housing farms by the end of this year, and we continue to have productive conversations with our committed pork suppliers around gestation crate-free systems.

(NOTE: This update is reflective of Darden’s portfolio as of January 2017.)