JEFFERSON — Ashe County will see a new supplier for food and food supplies for the 2018-19 school year.

Sysco of Charlotte outbid US Foods, who had provided food and food services to Ashe County for the past six years.

ACS is a part of the Mountain Purchasing Cooperative, which also includes Alleghany County, Avery County and Watauga County Schools. Sysco’s bid for food to the cooperative was $1,104,650.66 on May 14, while USFS bid $1,153,827.19 on May 14.

Sysco won the bid for food, however USFS still had the lower bids for food supplies. USFS bid $138.728.30 on May 9 for food supplies, while Sysco bid $152,707.38 on May 9 for food supplies.

Despite the lower bid, USFS declined to ship the food supplies, because they were not granted the food bid. According to a letter from USFS Bid Sales Manager Casey Reynolds, “Since US Foods was not awarded the Lot 1 Food contract, we find that we will be unable to ship you Lot 3-Supplies and Lot 4-Produce for August 2018-July 2019.”

According to ACS Child Nutrition Coordinator Martha Turner, vendors can opt out of previous bids.

“If we have a current bid with someone and the vendor and co-op is agreeable, then we may end up rolling a bid,” Turner said. “We can do that up to four years. But, if the vendor says they can’t do it or the authority elects a new bid, either party can (opt out) at the end of each year.”

Because ACS and the Mountain Purchasing Cooperative decided to work with Sysco as a food vendor, Sysco will also provide food supplies, because Sysco was the only other company to bid on the food supplies. Both were approved by the Ashe County Board of Education during the June 4 meeting. A produce vendor has not yet been decided. The Board of Education will vote on that vendor at their next meeting.

Other vendors that were approved by the Board of Education at the June meeting included Flowers Bakery for bakery products, Pet Dairy for dairy products and ice cream, Dr. Pepper Bottling Company for water and isotonic beverages and Triangle Vending Company for their vending proposal.

In an email, Turner noted that the food costs will probably increase slightly for the 2018-19 school year.

“While we did see a decrease in some prices for next year, we do expect an increase in our overall food costs due to an increase in the price per case delivery fees for food and food supplies,” Turner said in an email.

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