SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – NatureSweet® Tomatoes continues to transform the lives of their NatureSweet Associates, their families, and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. When grocery trips drastically reduced in March due to closed retailers, and the uncertainty of a “normal” future was looming, NatureSweet Associates jumped into action leading with their expertise – tomatoes! Donating over 1.3 million pounds of produce to food banks across the US and communities in Mexico, sending family safety kits home with our Associates (PPE materials, cleaning supplies, and family board games), and donating community safety kits where they operate, NatureSweet kept people their #1 priority.
“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 NatureSweet President & 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.”
NatureSweet’s efforts include:
● Safety plan implementation including temperature checkpoints, additional PPE, sanitation, and social distancing inside our facilities – including rearranging our cafeteria layouts and adding shifts to reduce contact. We also provide transportation to and from work and will be adding additional buses to our routes so fewer people are on each bus.
● Extensive communication to reinforce health measures at work and at home.
● Special training was also given to our staff to ensure we can help those going through anxiety or any other mental health issue
● Special bonuses and sundries for our front-line workers
● Thank you lunches each Friday, in accordance to social distancing guidelines, to serve Associates a special lunch and snack to show our 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 the 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 our Associates to bring joy to their families as their support is also vital to our mission.
● Community safety kits including goggles, face masks and other protective gear, which is a critical need in the areas where our 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.
In addition to increasing its already comprehensive cleaning and food safety policies, the company is also focused on production, and is hiring additional employees to ensure no gaps in supply occur during this time when consumers are relying so heavily on grocery stores. NatureSweet uses a proprietary growing system and packaging, which is helpful as consumers are encouraged to make fewer trips to the grocery store but also desire fresh produce.
About NatureSweet Tomatoes™
NatureSweet Tomatoes ™ is the single source solution for organic and conventional greenhouse grown vegetables in North America driven through the consumer’s preference and demand for snacking tomatoes. Always vine-nurtured and hand-picked at the peak of freshness, only NatureSweet™ produce guarantees great taste all year round. NatureSweet™ produce is carefully grown, harvested and packaged by more than 7,000 full-time Associates, and are sold at major grocers, mass retailers, club stores and food service operators in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Known for amazing Associates, award-winning quality, and innovative packaging, NatureSweet™ is also committed to having a positive social, environmental and economic impact on the communities in which they operate.