Thomas McQuillan is Baldor Specialty Foods' new vice president of strategy, culture and sustainability ( Courtesy Baldor Specialty Foods )

Baldor Specialty Foods, Hunt’s Point, N.Y., has promoted Thomas McQuillan to vice president of strategy, culture and sustainability.

The company is also expanding sustainability initiatives that McQuillan has brought to Baldor, working with two New York farms to sell “aesthetically imperfect” items under a new Imperfect Produce Program.

McQuillan joined Baldor in 2015, and was the company’s director of foodservice sales and sustainability, leading the company to record sales in 2018. He pioneered the company’s SparCs initiative (scraps spelled backwards), which repurposes the company’s fresh-cut scraps into juice and food for humans and animals, diverting usable food from landfills, according to a news release.

“Strategic planning plays a critical role in every aspect of our business,” CEO TJ Murphy said in the release. “And the Baldor SparCs program fundamentally redefined how we, and the industry, look at food waste. In his expanding role, McQuillan will continue to identify other innovative ways for Baldor to play a leading role in sustainability and other ground-breaking initiatives with farmers, customers and consumers.”

McQuillan, an authority on eliminating food waste, has presented on food sustainability at Harvard, New York University, Stanford University, and the White House, according to the release. He recently helped a Greenwich, Conn., non-profit plan and execute a zero-waste fundraising gala.

The Imperfect Produce Program takes second-grade vegetables from Hepworth Farms, Milton, N.Y., and Satur Farms, Cutchogue, Long Island, and diverts it from waste streams.

Zucchini, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers from Hepworth Farms and second-cut kale and a kale-spinach mix from Satur Farms are now available to Baldor’s network of restaurants, chefs and institutional food suppliers, according to a news release.

The program will expand to include other farms soon, according to Baldor.

“Virtually a third of a farmer’s crop never makes it to market because of oddly shaped or cosmetically blemished items that the foodservice industry routinely rejects,” McQuillan said in the release. “With this new program, we’re working with two local farms, Hepworth and Satur, to sell their surplus, irregular — but perfectly nutritious and delicious — select produce items to our customers.”