While many procurement policies and initiatives focus on local or sustainable purchasing, the Good Food Purchasing Program sets a baseline standard in each of the five value categories to ensure that Good Food purchasing decisions incorporate a holistic set of considerations.

The model builds on various procurement priorities that are common in many institutions, such as local preferences and sweat-free purchasing, and brings these under a unified framework. By incorporating strong labor standards as an equal value, the Good Food Purchasing Program is one of the most comprehensive sets of food purchasing standards available.

Since institutions have varying priorities and constraints, the Good Food Purchasing Program uses a tiered, points-based aspirational model (similar to LEED Green Building Certification) to provide institutions the flexibility to meet goals in each value category using practical priorities and timelines.