Here you can get perspectives on topics impacting our business, our people and our world.
National Day of Understanding
Leslie Drish - Dec 7, 2018
Creating a Culture of Belonging for Day of Understanding
When people ask me what I do for a living, I let them know that I’m a diversity and inclusion practitioner. Most of the time, people don’t have a clue what that means, so when they ask me what my job entails, I tell them I teach people how to be nice.
For Day of Understanding, we're celebrating all of the company initiatives that help demonstrate our commitment to diversity and inclusion.
International Day of Persons with Disabilities: Inspiration Turned to Action
From a young age, many girls are pre-programmed with the desire to get married and have children. As we grow into young adulthood, while sometimes that desire changes or moves on, one thing is certain: no mother asks to have a child with a disability.
I was one of those young mothers.
In the summer of 2017, I started the Tyson Foods’ DisAbility and Accessibility Awareness Business Resource Group (BRG), our first BRG dedicated to serving those who have disabilities in the workplace, those who care for children or others with disabilities, and those who desire to work with people with disabilities.
Growing our business in key markets outside the United States is one of the key elements of our long-term strategy. That’s why I’m excited we’ve completed the acquisition of Keystone Foods, welcoming new talent and capabilities to Tyson Foods. With the addition of Keystone, we’ll grow Tyson Foods’ foodservice business in the U.S., as well as our international footprint with operations in China, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea and Australia.
Pushing Poultry Forward: Collaboration as a Catalyst for Change
Working in poultry, there’s a new learning opportunity every day. What’s the next big thing? How can we stay ahead of shifts in consumer behaviors? How are we ensuring we’re doing right by our team members, our animals, our customers, and our company?
In my role, I’m responsible for developing the growth strategy for the poultry segment. This includes looking at realistic and achievable goals to drive us forward, as well as looking at where we can truly innovate our practices to move into the future.
Forecasting Agricultural Sustainability: Takeaways from the Sustainable Agriculture Summit
Forecasting Agricultural Sustainability was this year’s theme at the largest-ever annual Sustainable Agriculture Summit in Denver, Colorado. The summit called on food companies, government and non-government agencies, retailers, farmers and other members of our diverse and dynamic industry to unify and lead to drive large-scale advancements in agricultural sustainability.
Caring for our team members and our communities is part of who we are. In honor of Giving Tuesday, I wanted to share a few of the ways Tyson Foods and our team members are giving back to the causes we care about.
As the largest food processing company in the U.S., Tyson Foods supports hunger relief in a big way. In 2015, we put a stake in the ground when we pledged $50 million in cash and in-kind donations over a five-year period to fight hunger. That pledge is known as the “50-in-5” commitment.
An Open Letter to Grocery Retailers: The Online Grocery Shift Can Make or Break Your Business
What if I told you 10 percent of your store shelf space is going away tomorrow? What would you do? What if I added that in three years, another 10 percent of your shelf space will disappear? How would that impact your business?
That is the magnitude of the impact that is expected to be brought about by online grocery.
There is a new set of fundamentals—eFundamentals—that grocery retailers need to master to stay relevant and meet their own performance and growth goals.
Hillshire Snacking Recognized for Snacking Made Sophisticated
This week, Hillshire Snacking received the honor of being listed as one of Nielsen’s Top 25 Breakthrough Innovations of 2018. After reviewing almost 3,500 consumer products, Nielsen narrowed down the coveted list to the products that are the most distinctive and relevant, and have stood the test of time. The Hillshire Snacking team is honored to be recognized for the growth and innovation we brought to the snack market this year and for developing products that fulfill the new ways people are eating.
In 2015, avocado toast took menus by storm. In 2016, the rainbow bagel became Instagram famous. In 2017, a Starbucks Frappuccino went unicorn and the world followed suit. And in 2018, the poke bowl went from Hawaiian sleeper hit to the new chopped salad. So…what food trends will be on the tips of our tongues in 2019?
Celebrating Our Chaplaincy Program This Veterans Day
Helping others has been a key component of my life since serving in the U.S. Army for 24 years. During eight years of my military career, I worked on developing a chaplain training program, skills that are extremely relevant to what I do at Tyson Foods.
Improving Energy Conservation, Environmental Impact with Century-Old Technology
As owners of one of the largest private refrigerated trucking fleets, Tyson Foods and its subsidiaries are exploring ways to reduce carbon emissions and conserve energy by adopting modern versions of century-old technology.
In 2019, we plan to pilot two emerging motor technologies as part of ongoing efforts to improve fuel efficiency and reduce maintenance costs, all while improving overall profitability.
A Voice at the Table: Driving Change with Technology
I joined Tyson Foods right after graduating college. Since day one at Tyson, I’ve known I had a voice at the table. Our team is leading the charge on Tyson’s digital transformation, and I can say with confidence that every single person is playing a major role.
So what would I tell a recent grad or brimming technologist? Silicon Valley isn’t the only place you can innovate, and it’s certainly not the only place you can make an impact or drive change.
Faster, simpler, easier, more efficient. That’s what drives Tyson Foods’ technology team as we look for opportunities to replace manual processes with smart, digital solutions.
While we’re keeping our eye on innovative, futuristic technologies, from edible bar codes to 3-D food printers, our primary attention is on five key areas: mobility, advanced analytics, industrial IoT (Internet of Things), robotics and blockchain.
Food Meets Tech: Tyson Brings Consumer Goods into the Future
We’ve all been there– staring blankly into a refrigerator or pantry after a long day of work, unsure what to do next. But imagine instead a world where your smart devices suggest a range of recipes designed to suit your tastes, and your smart oven is controlled from an app and can precisely cook restaurant quality meals; a world where your favorite snacks come in packages engineered for your preferences and are able to track your eating habits.
Our Commitment to Animal Welfare, Research and Transparency
It’s been just over one year since I joined the Office of Animal Welfare at Tyson Foods, and I couldn’t be prouder of the passion and dedication my team brings to improve the lives of the animals raised for our company.
We have more than 50 animal welfare specialists who come to work every day with the purpose of ensuring the safety of the animals in our supply chain. Our goal is to accelerate progress and lead the industry in animal experience research and innovation, while also advancing transparency. What does this mean? Let me break it down for you.
While there are lots of bread lovers out there (OPRAH BEING ONE OF THEM!) and even a National Bread Day (Google it!), the culinary preferences of consumers are evolving. We even verified it in a survey - more than 33% of Americans have vowed to eat less of this yeasty treat in the new year and half have eaten a “sandwich” without bread.* So, what gives, Merriam-Webster?
My FNCE® Favorites: 3 Takeaways from the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo
Last week, I was fortunate to attend the largest worldwide meeting for food and nutrition experts with some of my Tyson Foods Nutrition Team members in our nation’s capitol. The conference was the Food & Nutrition Conference and Expo™ (FNCE®), which gives dietitians insight into the latest nutrition research and trends, and provides continuing education required to maintain our professional credentials.
Did you know that nearly 60 percent of Tyson Foods' maintenance and refrigeration team members are 50-years old or older?
With our CONNECT 4 program, we're tackling the skills gap for this generation and creating an easier path for high school students or current team members interested in pursuing an industrial maintenance career.
Innovation Lab Gets Inspired by Chicago Ideas Week
Happy Birthday to us! It has been one year since the Tyson Foods Innovation Lab was born. This hand-picked groups of diverse team members from across the organization is constantly challenging how we think about innovation—and Chicago Ideas Week has been a huge part of that.
Better Reality Through Virtual Reality: Looking to the Future of Workplace Safety
We’re committed to using the newest technology available to help prepare our team members to work more safely and efficiently. With our virtual reality pilot project, we're helping train new team members before they step foot in the work environment to help them feel confident on the plant floor.
Working with Our Industry to Optimize Sustainability
Sustainability in the food system can be complex, and often, leaning in on a single issue could have unintended consequences in another area. That’s why we collaborated with the Center for Food Integrity and others to develop a tool that helps companies set sustainability priorities and programs based on their values and stakeholder interests, and evaluate the potential impact of a change in policy or practice in supply chains.
Sally Grimes, our group president of prepared foods, has recently received recognition as a top woman in business from a handful of publications, including Fortune, Crain's Chicago Business, and Chicago Booth Magazine. Check out some of Sally's biggest accomplishments in leadership.
Our Poultry Farmer Advisory Council is helping us stay committed to transparent relationships with our farmers, and with their help, we've recently built technology to keep farming operations efficient.
We have a unique recipe that we believe makes this a great place to work: our culture.
Culture is a valuable tool in making team members feel included and valued for their unique differences—including mental illness. At Tyson Foods, there is no room for stigma, so we are taking a stance to #CureStigma for Mental Illness Awareness Week.
Improving nutrient use can reduce greenhouse gases and the risk of nutrient runoff. That’s why we set a Land Stewardship target of improving environmental farming practices on two million acres by 2020.
'Meals that Matter' Rolls Out After Hurricane Florence
Last week, Tyson Foods Team members from Arkansas, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia began arriving in Fayetteville, NC to set up our Meals that Matter disaster relief cook site to aid people in the region affected by Hurricane Florence.
Accelerating the Growth of Making Meat Without Animals
Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in the inaugural Good Food Conference.
Entrepreneurs, scientists, venture capitalists, technologists, engineers and foodies alike gathered for two days to talk about the future of alternative proteins and how to make them better, safer, faster, more affordable and more sustainably through emerging technologies.
Welcome to the Newest Five Star Restaurant: K-12 Food Hall
Meet the newest generation of foodies: kids.
Move aside, turkey and cheese sandwiches – Spicy Korean BBQ, Tangy Thai Lemongrass Chicken, and Garlicky Buffalo Chicken drumsticks are some of the latest "hot recipes" making kids' taste buds buzz. One of our culinary experts dives into the changing pint-sized palates in the lunch room.
Along with several other members on the Tyson Foods Corporate Communications team, I traveled to Nepal to meet Moushumi Shrestha – agricultural entrepreneur and, together with Tyson Foods, co-sponsor of a brand new OneEgg project in Nepal.
This week, 15 experts in animal well-being and welfare from all over the world met to help guide the next chapter of Tyson Foods’ animal well-being journey. These esteemed veterinarians, scientists, culinary experts, and more contribute to a new roster and revitalized agenda for the Tyson Foods Animal Well-Being Advisory Panel.
Chicken Facts: Why We Eliminated Antibiotics From Tyson™ Chicken
When I talk with people about how we raise chickens, questions usually come up about antibiotics. And the false belief that we constantly put them in feed and water.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Last year Tyson Foods announced all Tyson branded chicken products would be raised with No Antibiotics Ever (NAE) – making us the world’s leading producer of NAE chicken. This means these chickens are never given antibiotics in any phase of their lives – from egg to market age.
As the largest U.S. food company, we have the responsibility and opportunity to be as transparent as we can about the products we produce. Today we’re setting a new standard that we believe will raise expectations across the beef industry around what it means to raise cattle sustainably. We have become the first food company to license Progressive Beef™, the largest-ever cattle sustainability program verified through USDA approved auditors.
Gen Z is the hot new demographic everybody is talking about. Like generations before them, Gen Zers have their own unique “profile,” including a new set of needs and expectations that shape how companies like ours develop new products and market to them. And with Gen Z spending power estimated at up to $143 billion, you can bet they’ve got our attention.
I recently sat down with a few of the 8,147 Gen Zers who work at Tyson Foods to understand their unique perspectives, not only as consumers, but as valuable team members who can help crack the code to this new generation.
When we say Tyson Foods helps feed the world, we’re not kidding. We ship our products to 115 countries. Last year alone, exports generated about 19 percent of our pork sales and 15 percent of our beef sales.
But, now – because of the ongoing trade war and the tariffs its produced – we’re getting less for our products in some key markets.
Northwest Arkansas, like most of America, is changing. Driven by economic growth and a low cost of living, our region attracts a diverse group of newcomers. Some from the Marshall Islands, some from Mexico, and others from around the United States. They come to work hard and make a better life for themselves. However, their can-do attitude sometimes needs a little help to overcome the cultural and language barriers that can isolate us.
Our summer intern Nate Kelly had just finished his final presentation when I plucked him from his desk for an interview. Nate is a senior Agriculture and Consumer Economics major at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who is spending his summer interning for our Sales Strategy and Planning team in the Tyson Foods Chicago office. Nate was happy to sit down and chat about his experience, and just in time for #NationalInternDay!
Tyson Showcases Culinary Innovation at BITE NW Arkansas
Watch out Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival. Move over Maine Lobster Fest. Take a knee, Taste of Chicago. Northwest Arkansas is here to take a BITE out of the foodie and culinary festival culture.
Last week Bentonville, Arkansas hosted its fourth annual BITE NW Arkansas food and drink culinary festival. Hailed as the region’s premiere foodie experience, BITE invites locals to taste, sip, sample and discover the best of the culinary community in Northwest Arkansas. The event showcases more than 60 restaurants and breweries and draws a crowd of nearly 7,000 hungry attendees, briefly turning Northwest Arkansas into a hotbed of culinary innovation.
Kicking off Grilling Season with the Chicago Spark Program
Last week, we kicked off grilling season on the beautiful rooftop deck at our Chicago office, complete with hot dogs, cornhole and beautiful weather.
We were joined by several special guests, including our CEO Tom Hayes, talented Tyson Senior Chef Kang Kuan, and the VP of Marketing for Mike’s Hard Lemonade, Sanjiv Gajiwala. But perhaps more notably, we were joined by a group of 7th graders from Frazier International Magnet School, an affiliate of the Chicago Spark Program.
Blockchain is all the buzz these days. Sectors across finance, healthcare, media, government, and food, in the U.S. and around the world, are looking at how they can leverage blockchain for everything from medical record security to financial transactions and more. Blockchain is said to be the great democratizer and equalizer. Some liken it to the emergence of the internet where it can open seemingly infinite possibilities for change and improvement.
The statistics behind wasted food are overwhelming. Did you know that nearly one-third of all food used in food production globally ends up as waste? The average person wastes 3.5 pounds of food per week and uneaten food equates to Americans throwing out as much as $218 billion each year, which can end up rotting in landfills emitting greenhouse gases.
As the largest U.S. food company, it’s not only incumbent on us to care, it’s on us to do something about it. Our purpose -- to raise the world’s expectations for how much food can do -- is nothing if we don’t act.
As an immigrant to the U.S., I will always be grateful for the opportunities this country has given me. One of them was the chance to serve in the U.S. Naval Reserve.
I got there in a roundabout way.
When I was a kid growing up in South Africa, I loved diving. My dad was a commercial diver, and I went diving every chance I got. When I was a college freshman in Virginia, I met a U.S. Navy recruiter who told me I could make money for college (which I sorely needed) and have a chance to go to Navy dive school. I literally dove at the chance.
It’s the time of year for making memories – and hot dogs, too.
Most of my favorite memories are from the outdoors, around the grill. One that sticks out is a family reunion in Westford, Massachusetts when I was a kid. I remember the not one – not two – but three hot dogs I ate. I also remember running around the yard with my cousins, though I can’t remember exactly what game we were playing. Maybe it was Tag? Or Capture the Flag?
Our purpose is to raise the world’s expectations for how much good food can do. Today, our purpose is coming to life in exciting ways through investments we are making in social enterprise initiatives -- philanthropic investments that create shared value for society and our company.
These initiatives are aimed at using our strength as a modern food company with the size and scale to impact change to help sustainably solve social issues such as food insecurity, while improving communities and making a positive impact on people’s lives.
My mom is on my mind often, not just on Mother’s Day. And I know I’m not the only one who feels that way.
My mom shaped my life in many ways, some she likely didn’t realize.
In fact, one of the biggest influences she had on my life was completely unintentional. My mom wasn’t only from another generation; she was from another culture. She came to the U.S. from India in the 1960s and had an arranged marriage to my dad. They met the day before their wedding day…
We’re Committed to Enhancing Communications with Poultry Farmers
As part of our journey to continually live our purpose, we’re launching several initiatives aimed at enhancing communications and transparency with the thousands of independent farmers who grow chickens for our company.
Yesterday we mailed every farmer a copy of the Contract Poultry Farmers’ Bill of Rights along with a note explaining that we’re developing an advisory council made up of farmers and we’ll be investing in new communications technology with our growers in mind.
Tyson Foods’ purpose starts with sustainably feeding the world, and doing this calls us all to be a force for good. Sustainability is all about collaborating for the good of the next generation. We are using our resources, expertise and talent to solve social and environmental problems – not only increasing revenues and lowering expenses, but also making the world a better place.
Tyson Foods’ commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) enables us to be a good employer for our team members, an engaged neighbor within our communities and a valuable partner to our stakeholders. With approximately 122,000 team members in 112 plants in 29 states across the country, we have a profound influence on the communities where we operate.
When I first joined Tyson Foods as a part-time chaplain in our Berry Street and Randall Wobbe Lane plants in Springdale, Arkansas, a little over three years ago, I had only a basic idea of the challenges our team members face. At Berry Street, our workforce is almost exclusively Hispanic/Latino and Marshallese. Very few of the team members speak English, and much of the day-to-day communication is done through interpreters.
It turns out this is a pretty common scenario in many of our plants across the country, where nearly 30 different languages are spoken regularly.
I joined Tyson Foods six months ago as senior director of the Office of Animal Well-Being, a department dedicated exclusively to animal welfare and comprised of dozens of people like me who care deeply and work diligently to ensure we act responsibly about their care and treatment. Prior to joining Tyson, I was an associate professor in poultry at the University of Arkansas. In fact, my entire 30-year career has been committed to animal care.
The decision to go back to an industry position after a great experience in academia was a daunting one; however, the opportunity to impact the well-being of the farm animals raised by this company was too important to turn down.
As the President of Tyson Fresh Meats, I’m excited to celebrate a 30 year journey of growing collaboration between Tyson Foods and the UFCW. Together, we’ve worked hard to make a positive impact in our team member’s lives by putting our team members health and safety first and I am pleased to let you know we have made real, measurable progress in that time, particularly over the last 5 years.
Our plants are the foundation of our company and our communities– this is where the work gets done every day to make our business a success. The most important part of any of our plants is the Tyson team members. And to be successful, we need to make sure our team members have the resources and support they need to do their jobs well and to do them in a safe manner. It is our team members who are dedicated to helping Tyson maintain its leadership in the protein industry.
It’s Earth Month and to celebrate, we’re reflecting on the progress we’ve made, the challenges we’ve faced and the road ahead. Throughout the month we’ll offer opportunities to hear directly from our leaders in animal well-being, the environment, workplace safety, hunger relief and more. Part of being a company committed to sustainability is being a company that also cares about transparency.
A Little Wisdom for the Most Important Woman in My Life
This International Women’s Day, there’s reason to be optimistic.
Looking around the world – I see women of all ages standing up for what they believe in and speaking their minds on what’s important to them. They’re making a difference, opening the door to conversations that were once shunned.
Looking around the executive conference room – I see a Tyson Foods leadership team more diverse than it was just a year ago, including three women in top positions, guiding the future of America’s largest food company. Our consumer empathy is stronger today because of our unique perspectives.
Today, we presented at the annual Consumer Analyst Group of New York Conference, otherwise known as CAGNY. We’re hitting our stride as a modern food company, and we took the opportunity to share that story with analysts and investors who cover the food industry.
Simply put: The demand for protein is growing, and we’re evolving alongside consumers to feed them what they want to eat. During our presentation, we unveiled our latest innovations – and we’re not stopping there.
Yesterday, I shared with the team our plans for investing our tax savings, including our plan to provide one-time bonuses to frontline workers whose compensation does not include an annual bonus. These employees are the backbone of our business and we’re happy to show them our appreciation.
At first, it might seem counterintuitive. Admittedly, it seemed counterintuitive to some inside our company too. We know what comes to mind when people think of Tyson Foods – and that’s chicken. But in truth, we’re about chicken and so much more. We’re about sausage and pepperoni. Scrambled eggs and convenience snacks. Deli turkey and beef jerky. And now, through our venture capital fund, cultured meats and plant-based proteins.