Fast food favorite Wendy’s has announced a new plan for sourcing its tomatoes to provide the freshest produce in the business. Wendy’s is already well-known for its “fresh, never frozen” beef (and their sassy social media jabs at rival McDonald’s). Now the fast food giant is announcing its plans to source vine-ripened tomatoes for its North American restaurants exclusively from greenhouse farms by early 2019.
Wendy’s says that they will have about a dozen different suppliers across several regions of the country. The tomatoes will be grown in indoor greenhouses and hydroponic farms.
“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 [Quick Serve Restaurant] 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.
Better Tasting & Better for the Environment
Besides just having some of the freshest and best tasting tomatoes in the business, Wendy’s expects other benefits from its new program. They believe that they can significantly reduce pesticide use. This could include replacing pesticides with natural pest management practices such as using ladybugs.
The company also expects to see improvements in social and environmental sustainability from the program. Benefits could include better use of water and land resources, improved indoor working conditions and economic benefits for the regions where the greenhouses are located.
Quality & Responsibility as Strategy
With many Americans focusing on healthier eating and promoting more environmentally responsible consumption, Wendy’s new tomato sourcing strategy would seem to hit all the right notes in a single program.
“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.”
The transition to the new program is already underway. Wendy’s believes that its vine-ripened, greenhouse-grown tomatoes will be available at its location throughout the U.S. and Canada between now and early 2019.