The parent company of Stop & Shop and Giant Foods on Wednesday became the first of America’s major grocers to join the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Fair Food Program, the widely-acclaimed partnership to improve the lives of the country’s farmworkers. Ahold USA is the parent company of Stop & Shop, Giant Foods of Landover, Giant Foods of Carlisle, Martin’s and online grocer Peapod. With nearly 780 supermarkets across 14 states and the District of Columbia and 50 million customers each month, Ahold USA companies together represent one of the largest food retailing groups in the country...click below to read more. Photo courtesy of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers
The announcement came after years of campaigning by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), an organization of tomato pickers who created the revolutionary Fair Food Program, which supports higher wages and more protections in the field for farmworkers. “We are truly proud to welcome Ahold USA into the Fair Food Program,” said Gerardo Reyes of the CIW, “We believe its market leadership will send an invaluable message to the rest of the grocery industry that social responsibility is greatly strengthened when workers, suppliers, and retailers work together toward a more modern, more humane agricultural industry.”
By signing on, Ahold has increased the number of fair food tomatoes in grocery stores by 75%. Under the program, stores pay a penny more per pound of tomatoes, effectively doubling the wages of farmworkers. The program also includes a hotline available for workers who experience harassment, as well as an auditing team, to ensure compliance on the farms.