Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures; food manufacturers have implemented such measures to ensure that Canadians continue to have access to safe food. They’ve modified their manufacturing processes and their supply chains to address unprecedented demand. In this special periodic feature, we bring these behind-the-scenes stories to Grocery Business’ readers.
Peter Hall, vice president of retail sales and head of foodservice for Kraft Heinz Canada
- Kraft Heinz initiatives in Canada to address the pandemic regarding supply chain and grocery retail in-store support:
As the largest food company in Canada with iconic brands Canadians know and trust, it’s our responsibility to support our customers and consumers when and where they require us to do so, while continuing to keep the health and safety of our employees as the top priority.
As the crisis has evolved, our leadership team is making decisions in a dynamic way to ensure we are able to increase production of high demand products and get them on trucks and to stores. Our HR leaders are working diligently to monitor Health Canada recommendations to review the health risks and assess how to keep our field sales team safe as they continue to support at store level. Given the unprecedented demand placed on store staff, we quickly realized the crucial role our sales reps could play in supporting our retail parteners to feed canada and made the decision to continue visiting stores and assisting in any capacity.
- How Kraft Heinz is helping grocers avoid out of stocks:
Kraft Heinz made the decision to focus production on high demand products including KD, pasta sauce, frozen, peanut butter, baby food and beans. Our Mount Royal production facility in Montreal brought in extra shifts to ramp up production and we will continue to run 24-7 for as long as needed.
- What specific initiatives are underway to ensure the supply chain continues to move and manufacturing plants maintain a smooth production flow?
Kraft Heinz is focused on production of key SKUs including KD, Kraft Peanut Butter, Classico Pasta Sauce and Heinz Baked Beans. Our manufacturing plant in Mount Royal is running 24/7 including weekends, to ensure the continual production of products. We are doing everything we can to meet the needs of production and ensuring these products are reaching store shelves for Canadians to purchase.
- Kraft Heinz seems to be one of the few CPG companies in Canada to have a full national sales team onboard during the crisis – why has the company decided on this course of action?
We are proud to be one of the few CPG companies in Canada with a dedicated, full-time team of sales representatives who support stores each and every day. This is a team of true professionals who have built strong relationships with their stores and their communities and, especially during this challenging time, they want to step up and help.
As the situation rapidly evolves, we are working with our HR team to ensure we communicate proper safety precautions to our team as we know reps play a key role in assisting stores and ensuring Canadians can find and purchase the products where and then they want in order to feed their families at this time. We are communicating early and frequently with the field sales team and we are listening to and addressing their concerns, including through company-wide conference calls each day. We’re covering the cost of any personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies and we are also sourcing and sending PPE directly to their homes. And any rep who is not comfortable being in store at this time can step away from their role with no penalty.
- How is Kraft Heinz managing the crisis?
These are obviously very uncertain and stressful times, but we are also immensely proud to be able to serve Canadians in this time of need. We will continue to work around the clock to bring food to store shelves. It is a total team effort supporting our retail partners and they can rely on us to do the right thing for them and for all Canadians for as long as needed.