Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - 96


IMAGES COURTESY OF DAVID MATTHESON PHOTOGRAPHY

VERITABLE VEGETABLE

Veritable Vegetable has a number of loyal employees who
have been with the business for more than two decades.

Sixty-five percent of Veritable Vegetable's 135 employees are women, who
also hold a number of upper-management positions, which the company says
is outside the wholesale industry norm.
"We try to flip a lot of the norms on their
heads," Community Involvement Manager Nicole Mason explains. "We believe
in valuing the physical labor it takes to
move food. To demonstrate this we pay
our staff above the living wage in San
Francisco." The company also offers extensive benefits.
Veritable Vegetable prides itself on
a well-blended staff in terms of gender
and ethnic backgrounds. "It's integrated and that just happened organically
through our efforts to educate and bring
people along from within the company,"
Nygrens says.
Although Veritable Vegetable's retention rate ebbs and flows because it attracts a younger workforce, the company
does have a number of loyal employees
who have been with the business for
more than two decades. "I think we have
a remarkable, stable staff," says Karen
96 www.wdimagazine.com Spring 2016

Salinger, co-owner and director of sales.
"There are people who have been here for
25 years or more because we are a good
company to work for, and we are happy
about that."
The company's focus on quality relationships extends beyond its walls and
has become part of its reputation in the
organic trade. "We are known in the industry for paying farmers fairly for their
products, paying staff fairly and charging
a fair price," Nygrens adds. "We have a lot
of integrity in our produce and invest in
those relationships."
CEO Mary Jane Evans says the keys to
long-term relationships with farmers and
customers are transparency and taking
a partnership approach. For instance,
when working with growers, Veritable
Vegetable focuses on production planning, understanding the constraints in a
growing environment, discussing what
works well and integrating that into the
marketplace, keeping up with market
changes and adapting as the weather impacts farmers' produce. "Close working
relationships is what we have practiced

since day one," she adds. "It's a huge part
of our reputation and growers talk about
how they wish every distributor was like
Veritable Vegetable."

SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES
To become more flexible when working
with smaller farmers and customers, Veritable Vegetable purchased a fleet eight
years ago that includes hybrid tractors
and trailers and sprinter vans. "We are
mitigating the impact of our trucks," Mason notes. "We have received a number of
accolades and awards for the hybrid technology we employ."
As a Certified B Corporation, environmental sustainability is a major focus
and Veritable Vegetable is proud to run
the lowest emission equipment - producing near zero emissions - on the road
while reducing fuel consumption and decreasing its carbon footprint. The company continues to research non-petroleum-based fuel options and other ways it
can reduce its footprint. The purchase of
the hybrid tractors and trailers increased
fuel economy by 35 percent compared to
non-hybrid semis.
At its warehouse, the company installed 560 solar roof panels that generate 34 percent of its electricity needs.
Veritable Vegetable uses state-of-the-art
temperature control technology and
thick strip doors to ensure food stays
fresh while reducing energy usage. Additionally, the warehouse has energy-efficient ballasts, fixtures and bulbs as well
as motion and lumen sensors that detect
movement and natural light to cut down
on energy usage.
Veritable Vegetable has a robust food
waste program where 99 percent of it is
diverted from landfills.
"Any unsalable food goes to our employee food-buying club and to hunger
relief organizations," Nygrens says.
"We've had a composting program for
more than 20 years so that non-edible
food isn't wasted, either. We are very conscious of our waste management."


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016

Contents
Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - Cover1
Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - Cover2
Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - 1
Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - Contents
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Wholesale & Distribution International - Spring 2016 - Cover3
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