Amy’s Kitchen closes 11-month factory


By the time prepared vegetarian and organic foods had a place at the table in terms of the food industry’s market share, brands like Amy’s Kitchen already had an established legacy.

The Californian company was first established in 1987 and has since expanded to over 30 countries, producing one million meals a day using organic and non-GMO ingredients.

But the road has sometimes been rocky for the company, which is still led by its original founders, Rachel and Andy Berliner. Working conditions at Amy’s factories have come under criticism in recent years, including by former workers who claimed the factory’s line speeds were too fast to allow for restroom breaks and for injured workers to be systematically fired.

Although Amy’s has denied the claims, Berliners say demand is high and the company is cooking more meals than ever before.

But how much growth is too much? We may have learned the breaking pointas it was announced this week that Amy’s will close its San Jose frozen food plant and send 300 workers to pack.

The plant was opened just 11 months ago and has been developed to focus on Amy’s fast growing range of frozen pizzas. In place, says the Bay Area News GroupIt’s costing Amy a million dollars a month.

Fred Scarpulla, COO of Amy’s, told the Bay Area News Group that recent inflation has caused massive spikes in material costs and supply chain issues have led to critical equipment delays. Additionally, Scarpulla said there was a significant problem with staff turnover and labor shortages.

But others have speculated that the Amys may have over-expanded to meet pandemic demand that was temporary, as housebound customers began to seek expanded food options like meals from the restaurants. Another theory is that the ongoing harsh working conditions claims were having a tangible impact, as a 2022 boycott of the claims led some grocers to drop the company’s products.

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