From Sadrah &
Mike:

Why No Evil Foods Isn’t Backing Down During COVID-19

“Do No Evil” is at the heart of all we do, including our response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. We continually evaluate, update, and refine our health and safety protocols to meet and exceed recommendations by government, public health, and regulatory agencies (including the CDC and FDA).

Above all, we’re committed to protecting the well-being of the 90 people on our team — while ensuring you can still find our high-quality Plant Meat on store shelves.

As a food manufacturer, we’re an essential business —  a status we don’t take lightly. COVID-19 is directly linked to the mistreatment of animals, and ending that exploitation is at the crux of our mission. We see a union between bringing people closer to the origins of their food and addressing issues like food insecurity and economic justice. COVID-19 is happening because of the very thing we’re committed to fighting against. This is a time for us to bust up the status quo and change the world one bite at a time.

That said, we’re human. We’re doing the best we can, so our team still has jobs when all this is over. This is one hell of a challenge for us — as a company and as people trying to work, parent, lead, and love while the world shifts and changes beyond our control. No Evil Foods has grown tremendously since 2014, but we’re still small and scrappy. We’re facing this challenge the only way we know how: head-on.

That was on March 19, 11 days before North Carolina started “sheltering in place.” (Feels like a lifetime ago.) Since then, we’ve stayed hellbent on making sure no harm comes to people, planet, or animals.

Here’s what that looks like today:

How We’re Keeping Humans Safe (So They Can Focus on Being Awesome)

  • We have an internal COVID-19 response team comprised of employees from across the company. They meet daily and share updates regularly.
  • We share pertinent info on screens throughout our facility, which is closed to all visitors except those critical to business until further notice.
  • Every team member who can do so is working remotely. (As co-founders, we’re coming in every day.)
  • At the Axis, our home base, we maintain six feet of distance in every possible area (more than 90% of our 16,000-square-foot facility). No more than 40 people ever work in the building at the same time, so that distance is often greater than six feet.
  • We painted footprints on the production floor at six-foot intervals to remind employees of appropriate safe distances. Employees in all areas wear PPE as required, including masks and, in some cases, face shields.
  • As a food manufacturer, we already maintained stringent sanitizing and disinfecting schedules. New practices include sanitizing high-touch surfaces multiple times a day. Chair armrests and conference room tables (among other areas) are cleaned every time they are used. We maintain logs of these cleaning tasks throughout the facility.
  • As our state begins to “open up,” we are sanitizing even more frequently to keep our employees safe and healthy. All common areas of The Axis are sanitized every 60 to 90 minutes, about 16 hours a day, by a designated team member.
  • We added shift-change protocols to minimize contact between employees.
  • Before every shift, we now screen all team members for any COVID-19 symptoms. We do verbal screenings and take temperatures using a no-contact, infrared thermometer, in the privacy of their own vehicles.
  • Any team member who reports or exhibits potential symptoms is immediately sent home with pay and not permitted to enter the building. To protect their health and the safety of our entire team, that employee must be cleared by a medical professional before returning to work.
  • We extend all paid sick leave and extended paid FMLA leave as set forth in the FFCRA.
  • Only two employees work in our shipping area (aka our “warehouse”). They now work staggered hours to reduce contact.
  • When possible, departments have been split up to minimize in-person contact and help with contact tracing, should it be necessary in the future.
  • We continue to offer a free weekly “family meal” to all employees. However, that meal is currently served “carry-out style,” to further minimize contact between team members.
  • Employees continue to have a forum to offer suggestions and feedback on all protocols.
  • Any team member who shows any potential symptom is immediately sent home with pay. We extend all paid sick leave and extended paid FMLA leave as set forth in the FFCRA. To protect their health and the safety of our entire team, that employee must be cleared by a medical professional before returning to work.

How We’re Supporting Our Team (While They’re Crushing It)

  • To show appreciation to our most essential workers, all hourly employees received a raise of $2.25 per hour (with no conditions) for 60 days through June 5. We had already exceeded the Living Wage rate — we pay $13.65 plus health benefits. Production employees now earn, on average, approximately $17 per hour.
  • We follow all Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) regulations, including paid sick leave and extended, paid FMLA leave. We exceed many of the regulations, and began offering similar paid leave back in March, before the laws took effect.
  • We’re offering even greater flexibility to workers dealing with child-care challenges.
  • We offer traditional health insurance through Blue Cross Blue Shield to all employees after 90 days. We pay 100% of the cost for our introductory-level plan.
  • We increased access to our direct primary-care option (through Synergy Health Solutions) for all employees, now available on their first day of work. This costs a team member only $12 per month and offers another way to access health care during this challenging time.

We’re continuing to find new ways to support and protect our incredible team.

How We're Standing Behind Our Values (Especially During COVID-19)

As a family-founded, human-centered, and purpose-powered company, we see this pandemic as a time to step up, put our money where our mouth is — and help our neighbors and community.

In addition, we regularly donate sellable, “perfect” Plant Meat to various causes and charitable events.

  • Since 2019, we’ve donated imperfect (but safe and tasty) products to Bounty & Soul for their no-cost markets that share fresh, healthy food with anyone who needs it. To date, we’ve shared over 7,000 pounds of our scratch-made, plant-based meats — that’s 38,000 plant-powered meals! Nearly 40,000 individuals in our area experience food insecurity, and we’re proud to partner with Bounty & Soul.
  • We continue to work with UpSkill WNC, a group that connects us with individuals who encounter barriers to a living wage job, including those who have previously been incarcerated.
  • We’re still hiring for several open positions — all of which pay above living wages.
  • In the past, we donated 1% of our revenue to charitable causes and non-profits. Now we’re giving even more, with a focus on groups who are feeding vulnerable people.

We’re supporting local groups including:

This list will keep growing as long as people are in need.

We started No Evil Foods to do something, not just sell something. COVID-19 proves that the mission we stand behind is more important than ever. We promise that we’ll always hold true to our values — and never stop speaking our truth.

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