35 years ago, Rachel and I started Amy’s Kitchen. Admittedly, we didn’t know much about business. We were focused on cooking delicious, healthy meals –– meals that would bring genuine smiles to people’s faces; meals that would make their lives easier; meals that they could depend on. Our love of spreading health and happiness still rings true today. This is, and has always been, why we do what we do.
We could never have predicted how much our little family-owned business would grow. Over the past several years in particular, we have been amazed to see a significant increase in demand for our products, have opened Amy’s Kitchen Drive-Thru, and have launched countless new products. With this growth comes more responsibility, and we don’t take this lightly.
From the start we set a precedent that curiosity would be at the core of how we operate. We are constantly listening to and learning from our employees, customers, farmers, and even our competitors:
Safety: We know that accidents are common in food processing plants and have invested millions in safety –– both in equipment and practices. We’ve built and have been executing against a strategic plan to invest $50 million in safety-related projects as we continue to grow. Listening to our employees and implementing their ideas has brought many improvements and innovations to our plants. I am proud that our safety rate at our Santa Rosa plant is twice as good as the industry standard. But even one accident is one too many, and we will never stop working on improvements.
COVID-19 Support: When we first learned of the pandemic, well before local mandates were enforced, we moved quickly to secure thousands of masks for our employees, their families and local healthcare workers. We gave workers with preexisting conditions or at an older age leaves of absence with full pay while we learned more about the health risks and appropriate mitigation measures. And in Santa Rosa, we were able to run our own vaccine clinic where over 98% of our workforce was vaccinated. We know that through our efforts, many lives were saved. And I am forever grateful to the collective bravery of our team. They made the food that fed our country.
Employee Wages: We know that our employees have families to support, and we don’t take their hard work and time away from other responsibilities for granted –– and our pay proves this to be true. Most Amy’s production employees in Santa Rosa, for example, generally earn from $40,000 to more than $80,000 on a full-time basis, before overtime and based on their roles and experience. We do this in an industry where nationally the average food processing worker makes less than $30,000 a year.
Healthcare Clinics: When our plant manager shared that our employees were not able to access primary care, and chronic conditions were developing, we started asking why and found out that cultural and language barriers often got in the way. After consulting with experts, we built an onsite bilingual healthcare clinic at each plant location that gave each employee and their families high-quality healthcare –– at no cost. To achieve this we invest $45 million a year, which is $17,500 per employee per year, in health care benefits. Today we see a healthier workforce, happier families, and a better standard of medical care than any food company I have come across.
Employee College Scholarships: Our employees’ children and families are important to us, and we know that setting them up for success is critical to the continued future success of our communities. Because of this, we have awarded 1,355 college scholarships to our employees’ children since 2002 to give them the ability to pursue their dreams.
Organic: When we learned of higher childhood cancer rates in farming communities, we researched the health impacts of pesticides and immediately committed to using organic agriculture before there was a market or standard. Most people said this was a costly mistake, but it worked out just fine in the long run.
Sustainability: Creating a healthy environment is important to us, and we’ve been committed to making high-quality food with sustainable, organic, and vegetarian ingredients from the start. It was not a marketing or sales strategy; it was what felt like the right thing to do. We know that choosing what’s right for people and our planet –– even when it’s not the easiest option –– is what leads to success in business and in the positive impact we can make. Today, we are proud to be able to say we are B Corp Certified, and will continue to dedicate resources to ensure we serve both our people and planet.
The list goes on and will continue to grow. We are so very proud of where Amy’s Kitchen is today, and we sincerely thank every employee and every person who eats our food for helping us get here. We also know in some ways the journey has only just begun, particularly as we strive to maintain our values as a family-owned company while we continue to grow. We are committed to always learning, listening, and improving. And, as we remain committed to cooking quality, healthy, and organic food for you and your family.
All my best,