A Montreal factory is working 24/7 to supply Canadian comfort food
While some local businesses are closing their doors due to COVID-19, Montreal's Kraft-Heinz factory is ramping up production.
Nearly all of Canada's Kraft products are made in the city and increased buying at supermarkets across the county has many of them flying off the shelves, especially Kraft Dinner.
"If you're eating Kraft Dinner in Canada, it's probably coming from our Montreal factory," said plant manager Danielle Nguyen. "There shouldn't be any panic buying, because we're working days, evenings, weekends as well."
To keep up with demand, KD production lines are running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Most of the 960 plant workers are putting in overtime to make sure the factory can produce four million boxes of the dehydrated macaroni and cheese every week--a 35% increase in usual output.
Despite the longer hours, Nguyen said workers feel like they're serving their country.
"Employees are working right now to feed 37 million Canadians during this difficult time," she said. "They feel pride in what they're doing. Morale and engagement at the plant is very high."
Workers have even volunteered to make sure the roll-out of new COVID-19 safety measures runs smoothly, Nguyen said.
Starting on March 23, workers will have their temperatures scanned before starting shifts. On the factory floor, social distancing of 1.5 metres and mandatory hand washing procedures are also being enforced.
If anyone does fall ill or chooses to self-isolate, Nguyen says back-up employees are on standby to run critical lines. "We've prepared every possible plan to ensure the supply continuity of Kraft Dinner across the country," she said.
Management staff, including the plant director herself, are ready to roll up their sleeves to make sure Canadian families have access to their favourite comfort food, as long as they need it to get through the crisis.