Freshpet has been making some big changes in our daily operations to ensure the safety of our teams and the continued, safe production of the dog and cat food our pet parents rely on. We know that we will have to be vigilant for many more months, and we’re fully committed to doing what is right to protect our team. We believe part of that means keeping everyone informed, so in light of that, we’d like to share our latest release detailing the steps we’re taking to keep our employees safe and help achieve the goal of slowing down and eventually defeating this public health threat.
Secaucus, N.J., April 9, 2020 – Freshpet, Inc. (“Freshpet” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: FRPT), the leader in fresh, real food for pets, today announced strategic actions it has taken to protect team members and meet demand during the current coronavirus crisis.
The Company is making notable investments designed to protect its team members so that they can address the surge in demand that exceeded its production capacity during the first quarter and rebuild trade inventories in the second quarter when consumers begin to draw down their pantry stock. These efforts include taking the temperature of every team member before entering the Kitchens, installing increased space for social distancing, instituting staggered shifts, enhancing daily sanitation efforts and weekly deep cleaning of all common areas, and limiting access and administering a health check on all visitors. Additionally, the Company suspended its absenteeism policy – and brought in incremental staffing to meet demand — so that any team member who does not feel well does not feel compelled to show up for work. As a result, the Kitchens have continued to produce Freshpet – with limited interruptions — at very high volumes and with exceptional quality. To thank its team members for their efforts during this challenging time, the Company is paying all Kitchens’ team members a $500 post-tax bonus and they are receiving $50 gift cards bi-weekly to support locally owned restaurants.
Billy Cyr, Freshpet’s Chief Executive Officer, commented, “It is both a privilege and responsibility for Freshpet’s Kitchens to be designated a “life-sustaining business” by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf. We have the privilege of keeping our business operating – and constructing additional capacity — while so many others are closed. 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. On behalf of our Board of Directors and leadership team, I would like to extend my appreciation to our team members who are working so diligently to serve those pet parents while protecting our families.”
Cyr added, “We also greatly appreciate the efforts of our retail partners who are on the front lines of this crisis and working to provide the necessary food and other household supplies under such difficult circumstances. 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. 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.”
Cyr continued, “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. 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, the business we have built and the merits of our mission and values that are focused on Pets. People. Planet.”
The Company expects to report first quarter 2020 financial results in early May.
Freshpet’s mission is to improve the lives of dogs and cats through the power of fresh, real food. Freshpet foods are blends of fresh meats, vegetables and fruits farmed locally and made at our Kitchens in Bethlehem, PA. We thoughtfully prepare our foods using natural ingredients, cooking them in small batches at lower temperatures to preserve the natural goodness of the ingredients. Freshpet foods and treats are kept refrigerated from the moment they are made until they arrive at Freshpet Fridges in your local market.
Our foods are available in select mass, grocery (including online), natural food, club, and pet specialty retailers across the United States, Canada and Europe. From the care we take to source our ingredients and make our food, to the moment it reaches your home, our integrity, transparency and social responsibility are the way we like to run our business.
Forward Looking Statements
Certain statements in this release constitute “forward-looking” statements. These statements are based on management’s current opinions, expectations, beliefs, plans, objectives, assumptions or projections regarding future events or future results. These forward-looking statements are only predictions, not historical fact, and involve certain risks and uncertainties, as well as assumptions. Actual results, levels of activity, performance, achievements and events could differ materially from those stated, anticipated or implied by such forward-looking statements. While Freshpet believes that its assumptions are reasonable, it is very difficult to predict the impact of known factors, and, of course, it is impossible to anticipate all factors that could affect actual results. There are several risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from forward-looking statements made herein including, most prominently, the risks discussed under the heading “Risk Factors” in the Company’s latest annual report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Such forward-looking statements are made only as of the date of this release. Freshpet undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement because of new information, future events or otherwise, except as otherwise required by law. If we do update one or more forward-looking statements, no inference should be made that we will make additional updates with respect to those or other forward-looking statements.