DATE: 6 April
As a key contributor to food and nutrition in South Africa, Tiger Brands has continued to produce quality essential foods during the Covid-19 national lockdown to help ensure food security for all South Africans during this time. We have approached the continuing of operations in a responsible way, with only relevant manufacturing facilities remaining open and where primacy is placed on the safety of our employees.
Focused Employee Safety during the national lockdown
Ensuring the health and safety of our employees, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, is our biggest priority. As a result, we have implemented the following measures during the national lockdown.
- Identified which factories and product lines within selected factories are to remain operational to ensure that as many people as possible stay at home during the national lockdown;
- Procured private transport for staff at almost all our operational factories for their commute to and from work, ensuring that strict hygiene protocols are followed for sanitizing vehicles, in line with regulations;
- Staff at all operational factories are provided with surgical masks and hand sanitizers for additional safety & hygiene support;
- Staggered shifts at operational factories where possible, to help limit the number of employees at work at any given time;
- Implemented additional deep cleaning protocols across all factories and common areas (such as canteens) over and above the current rigorous hygiene and safety protocols in place;
- Increased health screening for all our staff at each factory;
- Brought-on additional support through our wellness service provider to support staff across the organisation;
- Amplified and enhanced health & safety awareness around Coronavirus across the organisation, through verbal, print, digital and mobile communication channels.
Procurement and Manufacturing Position
Tiger Brands has been closely monitoring the spread of the virus and its impact on supply chains, and at this stage we do not believe that there is a major threat to the availability of food in the country or our ability to produce food over the coming months. Unless we experience site closures due to staffing constraints or revised regulations, we anticipate being in a position to maintain consistent supply for the period of the lockdown as well as through the months of April and May. Beyond this timeframe, global developments with regard to raw material availability will be a key factor in determining finished product supply levels in some of our categories. With a bumper maize harvest expected in South Africa, and with ports remaining open, food manufacturers will have access to any additional raw materials that are needed. Regarding the ability to access raw materials and produce food, we believe that:
- We are very well placed in the short to medium term and are confident that we can meet and manage demand;
- We are in a position to increase production capacity on key food products if required;
- We have processes in place to meet demand on a national level and are working with all our partners to manage this in a coordinated and calm fashion;
- We are collaborating with our retail partners to ensure that they have sufficient buffer stock in all regions to mitigate any potential risks to supply over the coming months;
- We are working with all our suppliers and logistics partners to ensure as minimal disruption as possible during the lockdown.
- As a responsible corporate and a key contributor to food and nutrition security in South Africa, Tiger Brands assures all South Africans that it will never engage in price gouging, predatory pricing or other opportunistic tactics that are to the detriment of consumers.
Further, Government’s recently announced economic stimulus package which will make available R1, 2 billion will also go a long way to protect the country from food insecurity, in the longer term.
We continue to support our beneficiaries:
Despite the uncertainty of the lockdown, we have been able to continue supporting the thousands of people who depend on our food programmes everyday through our social outreach programmes, and we are grateful to our partners who have helped ensure the continuation of initiatives while maintaining social distancing and proper hygiene controls. We are furthermore engaging, supporting and partnering with other social agencies and government to amplify the national efforts underway to reach other at-risk communities across the country. Our appeal to consumers: At this stage, South Africa remains food secure. We appeal to all South Africans to remain calm and avoid panic-buying. Empty shelves create a psychological fear which drives further panic. While it may take a few days for retailers to replenish their stocks, this does not necessarily mean that there’s a shortage of food or essentials in the country.
Food will be available during the lockdown – grocery stores will remain open. We would advise all consumers to purchase only as much as they would need to carry them through the lockdown and allow others to access food and other essential items too. If everyone is able to access what they need, we can help to stem the numbers of people who need to shop during the lockdown. This will go a long way in helping to curb the transmission of the Coronavirus. This will also help prevent unnecessary food waste, especially of perishable food items.
This is the time for all South Africans to unite as we face these challenges together.