Amanda Young, V.P. of Research & Development for Kraft Heinz, spoke with The National Provisioner editor-in-chief Andy Hanacek about the R&D department’s role in building animal welfare and how passion for animal welfare spread throughout the company.
Andy Hanacek: I wanted to build upon a little bit of what Larry had said in the video I did with him. He spoke about the evolution of Kraft Heinz and of animal welfare at Kraft Heinz. He pinpointed it as an R&D catalyst if you will. Can you dig a little bit into R&D’s role in building animal welfare at Kraft Heinz over the years and how it has worked out that way?
Amanda Young: At Kraft Heinz, our mission is to be the best food company, growing a better world. We really believe that starts with quality care. Quality care means quality meat and quality products, so our R&D operation has been involved in our animal welfare program from the beginning participating on the team as scientists within the organization to work on our programs, our policies, and also help set direction for things we might sponsor in the industry such as this research to make things better.
Hanacek: One of the things I’ve been hearing throughout all of these interviews is the passion the employees have for animal welfare. The mission statement and the strategies all build into that, but not all the employees at corporate or the R&D offices or maybe even some of the processing plants get out to a sow farm or a turkey barn where the live animals are actually held. How do you build that passion and make sure it is real and it’s not just a boilerplate mission statement? How does everyone buy into that?
Young: For myself personally, when I came to this organization, I didn’t have a farming background. I didn’t have a meat or animal science background, which many of our scientists do. This was an area I didn’t know very much about, and I think it was not long being in this organization that I could really see the passion that our scientists had, that our organization has, for animal welfare and for growing a better world and trying to make it a better place. I think it’s infectious in the organization, so for me it’s about sponsoring and continuing to provide our scientists that opportunity to participate on teams like this where they do have that interest and passion, and then you find it spreads to the organization.
Hanacek: Have you seen that instilled in others?
Young: Definitely in myself. For me, the visit here today was fascinating. You know, I had not been to a sow farm before, so to be able to see this work in action, it was very satisfying.
Be sure to check out all the coverage of our November cover story here.