Fresh Pet Food Co. Introduces Employee Stock Ownership Program
Freshpet, Inc. will launch an employee stock ownership program. Beginning in 2019, all full-time hourly team members with a minimum of one year of service will be granted equity (restricted stock units) annually in Freshpet. This equity is in addition to their existing wages, benefits and performance incentives.
“At Freshpet, we know that all of our team members contribute to our success and we believe they should all share in our success. That is the essence of true ownership,” said Billy Cyr, CEO of Freshpet in Secaucus, N.J. “We are committed to being a top employer in Lehigh Valley and a model for companies around the world for how to attract, retain, develop and reward the hard working people who are in the trenches and moving our company forward on a daily basis.
“Our Feed the Growth strategy continues to perform and we are well-positioned to deliver on our 2020 goals and our mission of providing more pets with fresh, all-natural foods that enrich their lives and the relationships with their pet parents,” Cyr added. “We are the fastest growing pet food company in the U.S. and that is the result of the extraordinary efforts of so many of our teammates who demonstrate a commitment and passion for quality in all they do at Freshpet every day. We expect to continue growing quickly so the benefits of this ownership will grow along with our success.”
In August, Freshpet unveiled plans to expand its manufacturing capacity at its campus in Hanover Township, Northampton County, Pa. The expansion includes the renovation of an existing 50,000 square foot building and a 90,000 square-foot addition. The $100 million strategic capital investment is expected to support Freshpet's growth in the United States, Canada and Europe by creating total capacity for approximately $540 million in net sales from the facility. The facility “Freshpet Kitchens 2.0” will make greater use of automation to improve quality, safety and reduce costs. according to company officials. Production start-up is slated for the second half of 2020, subject to the timing of permits and construction.
The facility expansion will result in the addition of at least 100 new manufacturing and support jobs over the next three years and up to a total of 200 new jobs once running at full capacity. Today, approximately 221 Freshpet employees are working on manufacturing, research and development (“R&D”) and other support roles on the Freshpet campus. Freshpet also expects the manufacturing expansion to increase the purchase of locally produced ingredients by approximately two-thirds and support additional jobs at local third-party warehousing and logistics providers. The facility will also include R&D space and a pilot plant facility to enable test runs of new products.
In addition to the new stock ownership program, Freshpet employees enjoy unique perks and benefits such as $16 per hour staring pay, free food and pet food, Ice Cream Fridays, medical, disability and pet insurance, and matching 401K, officials said.