DUBLIN, Ohio — As part of its ongoing commitment to sourcing fresh, high-quality produce, Wendy's is announcing an initiative to source vine-ripened tomatoes for its North American restaurants exclusively from greenhouse farms by early 2019, according to a press release.
Tomatoes for Wendy's will be grown in indoor greenhouse and hydroponic farms from approximately a dozen suppliers throughout North America, including the West Coast, Pacific Northwest, Southeast and Great Lakes regions of the United States; Eastern and Western Canada; and Mexico. Nearly all tomatoes will be sourced from the United States and Canada, giving Wendy's customers the benefit of fresh, great-tasting tomatoes from sources that match the brand's North American restaurant footprint, according to the release.
"We've always been committed to providing customers with fresh, high-quality food. From our fresh never frozen beef, to creating the first salad bar in the QSR space, to hand-chopping produce in our restaurants daily, this newest initiative to source vine-ripened tomatoes from greenhouse farms is the latest way we're delivering on that commitment," said Liliana Esposito, chief communications officer for Wendy's.
"We're making this change for a variety of reasons that will benefit our customers, but taste and quality are the top factors and we are excited about the superior flavors we can achieve with this change," said Dennis Hecker, senior vice president of quality assurance for Wendy's. "Additionally, greenhouse farms provide supply predictability and quality assurance benefits — including continuity of supply; protection of crops from harsh weather; safe, indoor growing conditions; and a significant reduction of chemical pesticides used on the plants."
Wendy's also believes that greenhouse growing will support local economies by sustaining the agricultural workforce with fresh produce that can be grown year-round in comfortable, indoor environments. It will also bring economic opportunities to regions that previously have been unable to support year-round agriculture production due to geography and climate, according to the release.
As Wendy's transitions to its new tomato supply, it expects to see social and environmental sustainability benefits about which it will communicate regularly. Expected benefits include the significant reduction of chemical pesticide use, including replacing pesticides with natural integrated pest management practices such as ladybugs; water and land use benefits; safe, indoor working conditions and economic benefits to regions where the greenhouses are located.
With the transition actively underway, vine-ripened, greenhouse-grown tomatoes will be available at Wendy's in the U.S. and Canada between now and early 2019.
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