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Brakes and Sysco Speciality Group to become first wholesale partners of FairKitchens in UK

12/09/2021 – Sustainability / Hospitality / #FairKitchens / Brakes and Sysco / Wholesale / Unilever / Welfare

Brakes and Sysco Speciality Group to become first wholesale partners of FairKitchens in UK

Brakes and Sysco Speciality Group have announced a partnership with #FairKitchens – a global movement fighting for a healthier and more sustainable hospitality industry. 


The #FairKitchens movement – co-founded by Unilever Food Solutions in 2018 to improve the wellbeing of hospitality and foodservice workers – now has more than 20,000 community members learning from each other and creating resilient businesses in the process. 

Resources and success stories are shared to help operators improve working environments, with the focus on fair pay, fair treatment and fair hours. 

The long-term ambition is to create a point of preference, with ‘Fair Kitchens’ recognised by potential team members as good places to work and by diners as assurance of a quality dining experience that doesn’t compromise staff wellbeing. 


“Like #FairKitchens, wellbeing is at the forefront of Brakes’ and Sysco Speciality Group’s values, and is a key part of supporting their colleagues,” the two new partner firms said in a statement. Both companies – which are owned by the world’s leading foodservice business, Sysco – will be sharing #FairKitchens resources and insights with their teams and customers “to spread the word and help create a more positive working culture for the hospitality industry,” they stated.

Driving change for kitchen staff the world over


Kate Woodhouse (pictured) – Vice President, HR at Sysco International – said her firm believed in ‘acting today to protect tomorrow’. “Sysco aims to support every community it engages with – and with kitchen staff a vital part of our and our customers’ businesses, joining forces with #FairKitchens was an obvious decision,” she remarked.


“Sharing #FairKitchens resources and insights with both our teams and our customers is part of our commitment to having a positive impact with our customers, in our communities and on society. As a business we are committed to integrity and mutual respect, as well as ensuring diverse, inclusive, authentic and honest voices are part of the conversation. Together with #FairKitchens, we hope to change the narrative of what it means to work in hospitality and write new stories for people across the world,” Ms. Woodhouse added. 

Sysco Speciality Group encompasses fruit, veg, and dairy delivery firm Fresh Direct, M&J Seafood, fine food specialist Wild Harvest, regional provenance specialist kff and deli products purveyor Fresh Fayre.

Mark Irish, Head of Food Development at food wholesaling giant Brakes, said he was proud to be part of “a terrific group of chefs” within Sysco’s British businesses. “At the same time, as a chef by trade, I understand first-hand how challenging working in kitchens can be. As well as supporting our chefs, I am totally committed to working with #FairKitchens to spread the word as far and wide as I can,” he enthused. “It is so exciting to be part of something that will not only help today’s chefs, but could improve the wellbeing of generations of kitchen staff to come.”

Creating more positive working cultures


“Telling people to improve working conditions isn’t enough, but by sharing positive success stories and peer-to-peer endorsement we can all help to drive change,” said Alex Hall, #FairKitchens ambassador and Executive Chef of Unilever Away From Home – Unilever’s B2B foodservice delivery division – for the UK & Ireland. “Brakes and Sysco Speciality Group have an incredible network, and we’re grateful for their commitment to help spread the word. They join our ever-growing ranks of partners working together to help create more positive working cultures, which is more important than ever in retaining talent and recruiting for the future.”


Brakes and Sysco Speciality Group join existing #FairKitchens partners in the UK including Hospitality Action, Hawksmoor, The Burnt Chef Project, Craft Guild of Chefs, CH&CO, Healthy Hospo, Care UK and So Let’s Talk. Started in the US, #FairKitchens has now launched in Europe, Africa, Australasia and the Middle East.


To join the #FairKitchens movement and learn from chefs and operators committed to prioritising their people, follow the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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