The consumer packaged goods industry makes the chips, crackers, and other snacks that Americans munch on every day. Although CPG plants house complex machinery for making and packaging food, the industry also relies on large numbers of workers due to the scale of production and constant demand. At the Barclays Global Consumer Staples Conference held on Sept. 8 and 9, industry executives recognized that wages are a factor for attracting employees, but the role of work schedules is becoming increasingly clear.


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Predictable Work Schedules

At the conference, the president and chief executive officer of Campbell Soup Co. acknowledged that worker wages mattered but potential employees wanted predictable work schedules. Jobs with inconsistent hours or mandatory overtime can be impossible for many people to accept.

Workplace Safety

The president and CEO of Hostess Brands, Inc. said that his company tries to stand out to potential workers with its safety record. A company with a strong safety record could gain an advantage when seeking new workers. Hostess boasts a level of recordable injury incidents that is less than one-third of the industry average.

Workers processing Vidallai Onions at Bland Farms in Glennville, Georgia, June 20, 2017. USDA photo by Preston Keres

Coping With High Product Demand

The pandemic increased sales of packaged foods when people had to stay home. Even though the country is open now, CPG sales remain robust. As of September 2021, CPG sales went up 8.7% compared to the prior year. At B&G Foods, Inc., the president and CEO expressed concerns about how the fast pace of plant operation could wear down employees over time. For 18 months, the company has been running full tilt, and he said it could impact its ability to attract new employees in the future.

Long Hours Inspire Nationwide Strike At Mondelez International

Mondelez International owns Ritz, Chips Ahoy, Oreo, and many other famous brands. Since August 2021, its union workers have been on strike. Although strongly motivated by the company taking away pensions, the long hours may have pushed the workforce onto the picket lines. Many workers have been forced to work 12 and even 16-hour shifts.

Credit: Mike Mitchell

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