Did You Know?: Food Stores

April 29, 2011

John Silver slices 4-ounce butterfly pork chops from whole pork loins in the meat cutting department at Food Stores. Silver is the head meat cutter and has worked at Purdue since 1992. (Photo provided)

Download image

For many, buying in bulk means saving a few hundred dollars each year. For Purdue's Food Stores, it means saving about $1.7 million each year.

With the responsibility of sourcing a variety of food products to every campus kitchen, Food Stores buying staff identifies the most economical means to procure food and food-related items. Buyers look to market reports, weather, seasons, futures and stocks for guidance in purchasing items when they are least expensive.

Food Stores, which is staffed by 18 full-time employees and several student workers, contracts, purchases, stores and directly delivers food and disposable items all over the West Lafayette campus. The staff receives 30 semitruck loads of food each week; processes, slices, marinates and vacuum packs more than 4,000 pounds of meat each day and buys 50,000 pounds of dry pasta each year.

To accommodate the wide range of food that is required to meet the diverse needs of campus dining, the Food Stores facility, which was built in 1959 and renovated in 1992, has the following areas:

* Freezer --  -10 degrees.
* Cooler -- 34 degrees.
* Processing -- 45 degrees.
* Humidity control.
* Dry storage.

Food Stores welcomes faculty, staff and students to use the facility for educational purposes. In the past, an engineering class has received a lesson on the facility's ammonia system, which is the only one on campus. Foods and nutrition interns participate in a two-day rotation at the facility as part of an internship through University Residences. Also, Food Stores assists in storing and delivering food products used in research studies across campus.

Food Stores staff contracts and administers four campus-wide vending programs -- Coca-Cola, snack and hot beverage, student laundry and amusement games within the dormitories and Purdue Memorial Union. It secures food-service items and contracts out kitchen-related services such as hood cleaning, counter sealing and used cooking oil removal.

Wherever food is available on campus -- from dining halls, PMU and HTM Café to catered events, the College of Agriculture fish fry, break room coffee and vending machines -- Food Stores is involved.

Food Stores fun facts:
* Marinates up to 7,000 pounds of chicken per week.
* Has 180,000 cubic feet of freezer storage, 15,000 cubic feet of cooler storage and 125,000 cubic feet of dry storage.
*Provides 83,000 pounds of seafood, 652,000 pounds of chopped lettuce and 360,000 pounds of bananas annually.
*85 percent of food goods go to University Residences; 13 percent go to PMU and its satellite operations; 2 percent go to support Hospitality and Tourism Management.
* Is part of the Purdue Libraries’ emergency plan, since books damaged by water during a fire or flood can be recovered when flash-frozen.

For more information about Food Stores or to schedule a tour the facility, call 49-42017.

Source: Shelly Cochran, director of food stores.