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In the pandemic: Can-do attitudes, feeding families and online sales

This article was written by Chris Koger, and was originally published by The Packer on June 7, 2020

The fresh produce industry continues to help families with meals during the pandemic, and employees are going above and beyond during the pandemic.

The following are some news items from companies and organizations who are responding to the crisis.

Del Monte Fresh Produce

Del Monte Fresh Produce N.A. Inc, Coral Gables, Fla., is recognizing the above-and-beyond efforts of its employees during the pandemic with Can Do Done Daily.

The workforce recognition program features stories from employees in all sectors of Del Monte Fresh, from warehouse to merchandising and more, according to a news release.

Employees were asked to relay stories highlighting their work and extra duties during the pandemic, from helping retail employees stock shelves to adapting to shipping and storage changes.

“So many members of the Del Monte Fresh Produce family have been working around the clock to keep our operation going; our employees have gone above and beyond and given their all, despite how challenging things have been,” Elana Gold, chief marketing officer, said in the release. “Showcasing their passion, commitment and the hard work they’ve been doing in this way is the least we can do to thank them for their outstanding efforts, and it is our hope that our consumers will join in on thanking them, too.”

Food Waste Reduction Alliance

The Food Waste Reduction Alliance recently updated its website, complete with COVID-19 resources.

The alliance, established by the Consumer Brands Association (formerly the Grocery Manufacturers Association) FMI — the Food Industry Association, and the National Restaurant Association, is focused on cutting food waste at manufacturing, retail and foodservice operations. Its three goals are to reduce the amount of food waste generated, donate food to people in need, and compost food when it’s not possible to save.

Resources on the alliance’s COVID-19 page range from the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s updated Emergency Food and Shelter Program and FoodSource USA.

Greenyard USA/Seald Sweet

Greenyard USA/Seald Sweet, Vero Beach, Fla., is participating in Food Lion’s Summers Without Hunger Campaign, donating citrus to food banks served through the retailer’s program.

The company and other suppliers in the program are donating up to 250,000 units of product; Total Quality Logistics donated its services to drop off a shipment of Seald Sweet clementines June 2 at the Maryland Food Bank in Baltimore, according to a news release. A June 3 event kicked off the Summers Without Hunger program. The program lasts through June 30.

The company signed on to the program before the pandemic, which has made the need for fresh food even greater, according to the release.

“It is our mission as a company to promote a healthier future,” Steve Marinello, vice president of Greenyard Logistics, said in the release. “Providing fresh fruit and vegetables to consumers, supporting communities in need are all very good reasons to go to work every day!”

Food Lion shoppers support the program through $5 donations to Feeding America and the 30 food banks in the retailer’s service area.


Rosie, an online shopping platform for retailers and wholesalers, has seen demand for its service significantly increase since the beginning of March due to the effects of the pandemic.

Rose partners with independent retailers, representing thousands of stores and their wholesalers to provide an e-commerce solution that includes delivery services, omnichannel marketing and deep data services, according to a news release.

Rosie, Ithaca, N.Y., has had a 900% increase in stores signed during the pandemic, with consumers shifting shopping online. The company’s focus has been on “building out the company’s technology and consumer success teams” to support that growth, doubling in size with plans for more hires.

“Our rapid short-term growth is testament to the industry’s response to COVID-19 and the need for online shopping,” Nick Nickitas, CEO and co-founder of Rosie, said in the release.“Our retailers have spoken: e-commerce is no longer an added value but an expected necessity. In the coming weeks, we’re focused on strategically growing our team in a way that supports our various partners, and is key to fulfilling our mission.”

UFW Foundation

California farm worker groups and World Central Kitchen have distributed 63,000 meals and more than 8,000 food boxes to families of farm workers during the pandemic.

In a nine-week period, 63,000 meals from restaurants have been distributed to families in Delano, Lamont, Madera, Greenfield and Santa Rosa, according to a news release. The effort is through World Central Kitchen, Cesar Chavez Foundation, the United Farm Workers and UFW Foundation; the latter two which have provided the food boxes.

More than 16,000 meals are being prepared each week, with more locations added as the partnership expands, according to the release. Long lines of people and cars wait to pick up the food at distribution sites.

With shortages at some food banks, the UFW Foundation has been purchasing food to augment what’s provided by donors, and boxes have been distributed in Oxnard, Salinas, Farmersville, Lindsay, Goshen, and in Kern County.

“Our food distribution efforts bring relief to tens of thousands of farm workers and families in rural communities who are experiencing food insecurity amidst COVID-19,” UFW Foundation Executive Director Diana Tellefson Torres said in the release. “We will establish more food distribution sites in farm worker communities and continue to advocate for essential pay and benefits for farm workers who feed this nation.”

For coverage of the pandemic, see The Packer’s COVID-19 news updates.

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