SECAUCUS, NJ — Freshpet, Inc. on April 9 announced additional measures it is taking to protect its employees and continue manufacturing amid the coronavirus outbreak in the United States.
This includes making “notable investments” to provide additional facility space to accommodate social distancing guidelines, implementing staggered shifts and mandatory temperature-taking for all employees before entering the facility, expanding daily sanitation efforts and weekly deep-cleanings, limiting facility access and conducting health checks for all visitors.
“We have the privilege of keeping our business operating – and constructing additional capacity – while so many others are closed,” said Billy Cyr, chief executive officer of Freshpet. “That privilege comes with the responsibility to protect the safety of our team, their families and community while also serving the public need for the highest quality pet food for the more than 3 million pet parents who depend on us to feed their pets.”
Freshpet has also brought on additional staff and suspended its absentee policy, so employees are able to stay home if they are feeling unwell. The company is providing a $500 post-tax bonus for each of its manufacturing employees, plus a bi-weekly gift card worth $50 to support local restaurants.
“One of the benefits of the pet food business is that it has very consistent consumption patterns, which are continuing, but the current situation has distorted the buying behavior for that consumption,” Cyr said. “While it is not clear how long this crisis will last, the impact it will have on consumer shopping behavior going forward, or how long it will take retailers to return to their traditional activities, we are committed to helping our retail partners meet the needs of those whom they serve every day. All of our incremental health and safety efforts are designed to make us a reliable partner in that pursuit.”
Freshpet continues to produce at full capacity, only experiencing “limited interruptions.” It still plans to report first quarter fiscal 2020 financial earnings in early May.
“As we outlined at our Investor Day in February, our recent growth had been very robust such that we were playing catch up to fulfill demand,” Cyr said. “With the onset of the COVID-19 global health crisis, our demand continued to accelerate as pet parents prioritized shopping for their pets’ needs. While we expect a trough in retail sales behind the surge, we remain diligent in ensuring that our manufacturing operations are safe through additional investments when necessary and believe all of our efforts demonstrate the strength of our organization.”
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