A display of boxes of General Mills Honey Nut Cheerios cereal in a supermarket. Photo by Richard … [+]
Corbis via Getty Images
To meet the increasing demand for groceries during the coronavirus outbreak, General Mills is making changes. The company will allow office employees to work in its factories on a temporary basis, and it will provide daily bonuses to plant workers for a minimum of four weeks.
The combination of panic buying and shelter in place orders has put a strain on grocery stores as they struggle to keep up with the surge of shoppers and the need to restock empty shelves quickly. General Mills owns more than 100 brands and its products, which include Yoplait, Cherrios, Nature Valley, Pillsbury and Betty Crocker, are sold in more than 100 countries. The company has increased production and delivery as a response to the coronavirus outbreak.
“Our company’s purpose is to make food the world loves. But the unique circumstances of today call on General Mills to make food the world needs. Our most important objectives are the continued health and safety of our employees and our ongoing ability to serve our consumers around the world. We see it as imperative that we help ensure a steady and reliable food supply for people and pets,” Jeff Harmening, chairman and CEO of General Mills, said.
General Mills will allow healthy office employees to work in its manufacturing facilities. This is a voluntary offer and will be temporary. In addition, General Mills will give production-essential plant employees who are working on-site daily bonuses. The bonuses will last a minimum of four weeks but may be extended if necessary. Workers can also receive two weeks of paid leave, flexible hours and childcare consultations.
A sign at the entrance to the Hannaford supermarket in Scarborough reminds customers to stay six … [+]
Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
While restaurants and cafes have closed or switched to delivery and pick up, grocery stores are considered essential and continue to operate. Consumers are stocking up and, in some cases, panic buying, shelf-stable items like cereal, flour and pasta. As a result, General Mills and others have seen a spike in sales in recent weeks. Ensuring a steady supply of food has become essential, and production at major brands is increasing to meet the demand.
The Wall Street Journal reports that one of the reasons shoppers saw empty shelves was because stores have only been keeping enough inventory for four to six weeks to avoid the need for large warehouses. Now, stores are eager to get more inventory, and companies like General Mills have responded by making changes, which include shipping items directly from the manufacturing facilities to the stores.