An article from Eater describes how HelloFresh workers at two California and Colorado factories have announced their intention to unionize as they seek better working conditions and pay. This petition is one expression of a building wave of worker activism in the food industry.

If the unionization is successful, it would be the first union in the meal kit industry, and it could mean workers at other companies such as Blue Apron and Sunbasket could follow suit.

A tight labor market and magnified exposure of poor working conditions during the pandemic have given workers increased power to demand better compensation and safer working conditions across the food industry.

Related to the topic of employee and social welfare, our recent podcast (Sustainability Today: What Matters Most to Consumers? Key Findings from Hartman’s New Report) features highlights from our newly completed Sustainability 2021: Environment and Society in Focus report as discussed by two Hartman Group analysts who worked on the study.

Discussing one of the goals of Sustainability 2021 in conversation with Alissa Chevallier, senior consultant on the Hartman Retainer Services team, Iva Naffziger, Hartman Group director of marketing research and strategic insights, notes:
One of the things that we wanted to understand in this year’s sustainability study was how social well-being and social justice fit into sustainability for consumers. We have heard so much during the past two years about topics like working conditions for essential workers, racial justice and the economic impact of the pandemic. So, we set out to investigate how consumers think about these issues and how these influence their purchase decisions. What we found was a rather complex picture: Consumers are definitely thinking about social issues more, and they have a more nuanced understanding of them, and they consider them to be very important ...
Employee welfare was already a social justice issue pre-COVID-19 and is becoming especially fraught as safety concerns are heightened by the pandemic. Hartman Group sustainability research (both previously and currently) finds that consumers report increased attention to the fair treatment of workers involved in food production and desire to support companies that prioritize treatment of workers.

Going forward, companies that can proactively address both consumer and worker concerns are likely to have more opportunities to earn greater trust among consumers now and into the future.

More information on the Sustainability 2021: Environment and Society in Focusreport is available here