The Wendy's Company in 2019 reached its goal of transitioning entirely to hydroponic tomatoes at its North American restaurants, tested hydroponic lettuce in Canada and outlined new animal care standards for its supply chain, the company said Wednesday.
In releasing its 2019 corporate social responsibility report, the Dublin, Ohio-based burger chain said it was committed to a comprehensive accounting of animal care best practices, including use of antibiotics and animal housing conditions, by the end of 2024.
"At Wendy's, we believe that doing the right thing is the only way to do business," said Todd Penegor, Wendy’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “Being a responsible corporate citizen is a priority for our brand.”
The company several years ago had outlined plans to transition to tomatoes from greenhouses after pressure from the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, which has been protesting and urging the burger brand to join the CIW’s Fair Food Program, established in 2005 to provide supply-chain certification that tomato field workers were not being exploited.
In 2018, Wendy’s said it was already a quarter of the way to sourcing all its tomatoes from greenhouse providers.
Wendy’s said it made progress in 2019 to enhance animal welfare standards and supply-chain traceability and formalized its new Animal Care Standards Program (ACSP), a detailed assessment tool for beef, pork, chicken and eggs, which will launch this year.
Wendy’s report also covered employment practices and sustainability, such as the company’s partnership with the NextGen Consortium to identify more sustainable hot and cold fiber cup options.
The corporate responsibility report for 2019 is available online.
For the third quarter ended Sept. 29, Wendy’s net income was $46.1 million, or 20 cents a share, compared with $391.2 million, or $1.60 a share, in the same period last year. The 2018 quarter included Wendy’s sale of its interest in Inspire Brands for $450 million. Revenues in the third quarter were up 9.3% to $437.9 million from $400.6 million in the prior-year period.
Same-store sales growth at Wendy’s North American restaurants was 4.4% in the third quarter.
Wendy’s, founded in 1969, has more than 6,700 restaurants worldwide.
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