U.S. Communities

Premier K-12 Foodservice

Group Purchasing for Healthier School Meals

  • Phone: 877-981-3312
  • Fax: 886-809-9247

Today, many School Food Authorities (SFAs) are challenged with tighter budgets, limited resources and high expectations from customers. SFAs are tasked to save dollars, drive competitive bid processes and manage supplier relationships. To help manage these challenges, Premier has built this comprehensive program specifically for the K-12 market utilizing over 250 manufacturer agreements through our broad line distribution program with US Foods. These contracts drive savings and efficiency, while our distribution program is built on a firm fee-per-case pricing structure. Additionally, you can access various cost management solutions, technology tools, educational tools and resources beyond just our pricing programs to assist in driving operational efficiencies and savings. Benefits include:

  • Access to manufacturer discounts with over 250 manufacturers saving time and money on more than 300,000 products
  • Benefit from pricing structure that includes a firm fixed fee-per-case for distribution based on a members average drop size
  • Maximize program's effectiveness with educational tools and resources
  • Receive full transparency of cost (credits, rebates and discounts) on all products and services purchased through the program
  • Contract competitively solicited and awarded by K-12 operators to drive efficiencies and savings for other K-12 SFAs
Food Innovations

Introducing US Foods Nourish

A Game-Changing New Program From Premier & US Foods

US Foods Nourish—is a Premier exclusive suite of versatile, on-trend products that together have the power to build healthier customers and healthier business. 

Products with the US Foods Nourish designation are:

  1.  Versatile products that offer multiple labor saving applications.
  2. Designed to meet the functional needs of Healthcare, College and University foodservice operators.
  3. Have nutritional claims that reflect the consumer’s needs.
  4. Meets or exceeds sodium standards outlined by the American Heart Association.

And there’s more, exclusively for Premier members, including US Foods Nourish support materials:

  • Operator’s Guide: Provides comprehensive methodology for menuing and selling featured Scoop items.
  • Recipe Book: Features chef-inspired recipes, exclusively for Premier.
  • Retail Promotions: Quick and easy, volume-boosting menu programs.
  • Product Videos: Offer prep and serving suggestions for increasing plate appeal and easy preparation.
Resources & Tools

Roadmap to Savings - Tools and Resources to Maximize the Premier Foodservice Program

  • BluePrint® Integrated Menus
  • Recipes on Demand®
  • COGM/Central Order Guide Management
  • Menu Profit Builder Pro®
  • Product Selection
  •  Financial_Performance
  • Incentive Maximization-DSO/Drop Size
  • Baseline® / TrendView®
  • Business Analytics
  • Direct Parent Incentive
  • New Business Incentive
  • Financial Operating Reports
  • Price Change/ Inflation Report
  • LeanPath®
  • Concepts® by Premier
  • Cafessentials®
  • LaborFocus®
  • Culinary Clinics
  • Imprints®
  • US Foods® Nourish 
  • Premier Breakthroughs Conference
  • Mobile Applications



To drive the highest savings possible for public agencies, the K-12 Premier Foodservice Program addresses product cost, fee-per-case for distribution and program incentives. To determine how the program works specifically for your district, we encourage you to Request a Market Basket Analysis. Completing the requested information will help give you clear snapshot of how Premier’s program would generate pricing for your products and delivery parameters.

Program benefits combine guaranteed national distribution program with access to a comprehensive portfolio of competitively bid contracted manufacturer agreements (CMAs) that can help you save on more than 300,000 food and non-food products. Additionally, members may be eligible for incentives based on performance including early pay, new business and program maximization.

Premier’s cost of distribution is defined by a fixed fee-per-case based on a members average drop size. The fee-per-case will remain firm and fixed through the contract term. Average drop size will be reviewed quarterly and adjustments to the earned fee-per-case will be made.


Why Premier? 
Today, many School Food Authorities (SFAs) are challenged with tighter budgets, limited resources and high expectations from customers. SFAs are tasked to save dollars, drive competitive bid processes and manage supplier relationships. Premier is a group purchasing organization that helps tackle these challenges by aggregating member purchasing power with a competitive contracting process to achieve cost savings and improve quality of goods purchased while decreasing the time and resources needed to manage the process internally. Leveraging our collective buying power, Premier can help you save on products and services you buy every day.

What is the Premier K-12 Foodservice and Distribution Program? 
The Premier Foodservice and Distribution Program is a proven, 20+ year purchasing program. It includes an aggressive national distribution program, discounted contracted manufacturer agreements, technology solutions, cost management solutions, participant’s satisfaction surveys and ongoing communication from our membership to continually improve upon the existing contract portfolio and value-added tools and resources. To date, the foodservice program generates more than $5.0 billion annually in purchasing power with over 17,000 participants from many classes of trade including primary and secondary education (K-12). Premier is the largest and most successful group purchasing organization in the foodservice industry today. 

What is a group purchasing organization (GPO)? 
A GPO (Group Purchasing Organization) is an organization that assists their members in realizing savings and efficiencies by aggregating purchasing volume and using that leverage to negotiate discounts. GPO’s do not purchase or buy any products. They negotiate contracts with manufacturers, distributors and suppliers on behalf of their membership for use when making their own purchases.

How would this program be different from what a participating member might be using today? 
This program is more of a single source supplier vs. multiple distributors awarded by line item bids. A prime vendor type relationship reduces ordering time, invoice processing and number of deliveries to the facilities which helps to increase overall productivity and efficiencies, operational performance and savings.

Can a SFA join a GPO?  
Any SFA can participate in a group purchasing organization as long as they realize they themselves are ultimately responsible for compliance with federal, state, and local laws and regulations including open, fair and competitive procurement (informal or formal) of GPO services.

Is there a fee to join or use your service?
There is no fee to join the Premier K-12 Foodservice and Distribution Program. Participation is voluntary. Purchase the items you need using pre-negotiated, contracted pricing including a firm fixed fee-per-case for distribution.

What are the principal advantages of the program? 

  1. Lower prices that provide immediate savings on your foodservice expenditures through deviated pricing from Premier’s contracted manufacturer agreements  (CMAs)
  2. Price protection and ongoing monitoring of market conditions  providing greater control and predictability of costs both immediately and over time due to the thorough negotiations throughout the contracting process managed by the Premier foodservice team
  3. Leveraging Premier’s collective purchasing power and contracting process to positively influence product cost, quality, labor, revenue and other priorities of your management and operations staff
  4. Access to a comprehensive portfolio exceeding 220 competitively bid national, regional and local foodservice contracts consisting of 90+ product categories and more than 100,000 contracted products (food and non-food)
  5. Access to Premier’s exclusive K-12 foodservice resources and professional support including customized reporting, standardized menu planning and recipes, nutrition education and training
  6. Receive full transparency of cost (credits, rebates and discounts) on all products and services purchased through the program

What is the relationship between Premier and US Foods? 
The relationship between Premier and US Foods is contractual. Every five (5) years, Premier solicits and awards a competitive RFP for distribution utilizing our detailed sourcing and contracting process. Currently, US Foods is our primary distributor and business partner for our foodservice program and offerings. Powered by a 20+ year partnership, US Foods dedicates people and resources helping Premier support and grow a member-driven program of unprecedented value and savings. Our long-term partnership and program growth has made Premier US Foods’ largest customer. This affords our members program and service initiatives that other customers do not have. There is POWER in NUMBERS!

Premier is responsible for the sourcing and contracting of national, regional and local agreements incorporating language that helps to manage cost and provide price predictability throughout the term of the agreement.  Premier does not purchase or buy any products. US Foods, handles the day-to-day stocking and delivery of food products. One hundred (100) percent of all products purchased through US Foods are priced based on the national distribution agreement Premier has negotiated on behalf of its membership.

What are Contracted Manufacturer Agreements (CMAs)? How do member’s access discounts?
The cornerstone of the Premier Foodservice and Distribution Program is the Contracted Manufacturer Agreement (CMA) providing the most comprehensive foodservice contract portfolio in the industry. Members who maximize their usage of CMAs realize substantial cost savings on their food spend, year after year. The majority of the financial value of the Premier Foodservice and Distribution program is vested in the CMA. Contracted Manufacturer Agreements (CMAs) are negotiated to maximize the benefits for all members, and then managed with careful oversight and price monitoring at all times. The portfolio of competitively priced products continues to grow each year. Currently members have access to more than 220 contracted manufacturer agreements (CMAs) covering more than 90+ product categories and an excess of 100,000 products (food and non-food). Contracted Manufacturer Agreements (CMAs) are negotiated with manufacturers for a three (3) year period. Contracts are negotiated to determine cost into distribution and have various controls built in to protect against extreme market fluctuations. CMAs provide savings either through the form of a deviation, rebate and/or an off-invoice allowance. Some suppliers include a combination of these discounts.

Approximately ninety (90) percent of discounts are in the form of a deviation. Premier negotiates the cost into US Foods who applies the negotiated firm and fixed- fee per case. This is the member’s price on the invoice. Approximately seven (7) percent of discounts are in the form of a rebate. Rebates are paid one hundred (100) percent back to the purchasing member after the close of the quarter by Premier. Full transparency is provided on all manufacturer rebates with back up documentation provided by purchase location including both vendor and product purchase details and reporting. Approximately three (3) percent of discounts are in the form of an allowance. The cost of goods is determined by the market price into the local US Foods distribution center, the negotiated allowance is taken off at time of invoicing.

Premier has a consistent process to ensure competitive pricing and evaluations are done in each product category. By continuing to have these processes every three (3) years for manufacturer agreements and five (5) years for distribution,  we ensure that additional suppliers, products and pricing are evaluated to drive as much competition and savings for our membership. Supplier pricing, as well as the methodology for triggering a price change, is agreed to at the time of contract signature. The majority of our contracts change price annually, while some commodity-based contracts require a quarterly or monthly adjustment to maintain the most competitive pricing.

Competitive bidding begins with an extensive Request for Information (RFI) that is submitted to suppliers. The vendor selection process is supplemented by member input along with in-depth research and analysis of qualified vendors through various methods. After analysis of the RFI, a RFQ is sent to qualified suppliers that have met the qualifications of the RFI.  RFQ responses are analyzed and presented to our awarding committee(s). Criteria for award may include evaluation of quality tiers, innovation, stocking, and packaging, commitment to health and wellness, social responsibility and overall financial value to the entire Premier membership. Category awards may result in single, sole or multi-source awards.  

What food purchasing categories are included in the program? 

  • Dry Grocery
  • Refrigerated Grocery
  • Frozen Grocery
  • Dairy (Yogurt, Cheese, Milk, etc.)
  • Center of the Plate
  • Produce
  • Disposables
  • Janitorial Chemicals
  • Beverages (coffee, tea, etc.)
  • Small wares
  • Kitchen Equipment

How is the cost of distribution structured? Are there circumstances under which special reduced pricing or rebates are offered to members?
The cost of distribution is defined by a firm fee-per-case based on a members average drop size. The fee-per-case will remain firm through the contract term.  Average drop size will be reviewed quarterly and adjustments to the earned fee-per-case will be made if the SFAs drop size performance warrants a change.

Manufacturers that work with SFAs provide discounts based on size, geography, scope and market conditions. As a result of these unique conditions and individual menu requirements, Premier collaboratively with US Foods will partner with the manufacturers to obtain specific discounts that provide the best quality products at the lowest prices.  

Are there reporting tools available? 
Yes, Premier has numerous reporting tools on their contracting site and on the US Foods online ordering system. Participants will be able to look at purchases by specific location or they can roll purchases into one master account if they have multiple locations. This information can be in total, by manufacturer or by products.  

What additional resources are available to the public agencies, in addition to food purchasing? 
Participants have access to our CHOICE 365 standardized menu and recipe program, health and wellness programs, food allergy management and training, culinary training and Premier’s regional membership meetings providing a great opportunity to network, learn about new contracts and products, best practices and trends.

How do I place an order?
As long as your SFS is registered with U.S. Communities, go to www.premierinc.com/k12-uscommunities and select JOIN NOW and complete and submit the online registration form. A representative from Premier will contact you once your registration has been finalized and assist you with next steps including account set up with our contracted broad line distributor, US Foods. For more information, call 877-981-3312 or email uscommunities@premierinc.com          

Getting Started
Getting Started

Premier has built a variety of tools to help SFA’s evaluate details on how the program will work for them as well as a simple online format to get connected and utilize the contract. 

Request a Market Basket to see how our manufacturer agreements and distribution program through US Foods can provide value.

To sign up for the program and begin utilizing US Foods to obtain the discounts and savings through our agreements, fill out the required information and you’ll soon be contacted by US Foods to confirm your delivery schedule, account representation and get your credit details established.

  1. Participating agency serviced by one of US Foods national distribution centers
  2. Next-day delivery, based on school location from the distribution center
  3. Proof of delivery method of invoicing ensures complete invoice at time of delivery

If you have additional questions or need more information, contact us at (877) 877-1552 or visit www.premierinc.com/k12-uscommunities


If you are not a K-12 school, visit our Government and Higher Education page

Check out the dates/locations for Premier's Culinary Clinics. You’ll get in-depth training and culinary experiences that include slicing and dicing safely, presentation techniques, CMAs for cost-saving, cooking exercises, an educational dinner and much more. Learn more or register now