NatureSweet® Tomatoes Invests in Associates, Donations, and Safety Amidst COVID-19
- by Melissa De Leon Chavez
SAN ANTONIO, TX - This time of turmoil has seen the team at NatureSweet® Tomatoes in constant motion, supporting its frontline associates, families, and communities with a multitude of moves since March.
“A shared belief that our wellbeing is dependent upon our decisions and not our circumstances led to the mobilization and delivery of comfort, relief, and hope that it’ll all be OK in the form of small and delicious tomatoes, along with other medical equipment,” said the company’s President and CEO Rodolfo Spielmann. “We’re doing everything we can to support our associates and their families, and we’re prepared to take additional actions as needed. We hope the rest of the tomato industry—and the entire agriculture industry—joins us in raising up these workers who are the lifeforce of our global food system.”
To date, NatureSweet has invested up to $5,000,000 in food donations locally, as well as over 1.3 million pounds of produce to food banks across the U.S. and to communities in Mexico. The company has also donated community safety kits where it operates, assuring in a press release that its people are its number one priority.
In addition to increasing its already comprehensive cleaning and food safety policies, the company noted that it is also focused on production and is hiring additional employees to ensure no gaps in supply occur whilst consumers rely so heavily on grocery stores.
According to its release, NatureSweet uses a proprietary growing system and packaging that serve to help consumers make fewer trips to the grocery store while still having fresh produce.
NatureSweet’s additional efforts include:
- Safety plan implementation including temperature checkpoints, additional PPE, sanitation, and social distancing inside facilities, including rearranging cafeteria layouts and adding shifts to reduce contact
- Providing transportation to and from work, with plans for additional buses to routes so fewer people are on each bus
- Extensive communication to reinforce health measures at work and home
- Special training to staff to ensure those going through anxiety or any other mental health issues can be helped
- Special bonuses and sundries for front-line workers
- Thank you lunches each Friday in accordance with social distancing guidelines to show associates gratitude for their service
- Paid-leave compensation for at-risk associates
- Family safety kits to keep associates’ families safe. Kits include five face masks, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, soaps, disinfectant, and a spray bottle, along with a letter to families and instructions for use of kits
- Grocery packs for associates to take home to share with their families
- Associate family support including shipments of board games, contests, and other entertainment home with associates to bring joy to families whose support is vital to NatureSweet’s mission
- Community safety kits including goggles, face masks, and other protective gear in critical need in the areas where the company’s greenhouses operate
- Up to $5,000,000 in product donations to food banks and indigenous community organizations in Atlanta and several cities in Texas, including Corpus Christi, Houston, Laredo, and San Antonio
As NatureSweet and others on all sides of the industry look to ensure as dependable a supply as possible, our team will report the latest for fresh produce and all it affects.