Amy’s Kitchen is a trim tab company changing the face of agriculture.  In the first three parts of this series, we explained the trim tab concept, suggested how a trim tab evolves, and showed how trim tab actions combined with social media can produce powerful results.

Now, we focus on a really good example of a great company and a true trim tab pioneer – Amy’s Kitchen.  Founded in 1988 by Rachel and Andy Berliner, Amy’s Kitchen has stayed true to its founders’ values and commitment to provide the best organic, vegetarian frozen entrees, soups, pizza, burritos and more. The choices they’ve made as they grew are what make them a Trim Tab Pioneer and demonstrate how trim tab actions benefit your bottom line, your staff, your customers and the planet. It starts by looking at change as a trim tab opportunity.

Trim Tab opportunity:  How to stay local while expanding nationally and internationally?

As Amy’s Kitchen grew, they wanted to maintain their commitment to source local, organic ingredients.  And, rather than continuing the carbon footprint required to expand into Europe, they decided to open a small plant in Corby, England.  This UK operation is an expression of their commitment to source locally grown, organic produce and create relationships with their organic farmers.

Trim tab actions have a ripple effect.

This values-driven, trim tab action– sourcing local, organic ingredients – catalyzed another trim tab action – opening a UK plant – which has yet another positive ripple effect.  In opening this UK plant, not only have they reduced their carbon footprint and supported local, organic farmers, they are contributing to the local community by expecting to hire 30 people from that local area.

 Amy’s Kitchen’s actions put them at the top.

Those same values have prompted them to plan on opening a new plant in Greenville, South Carolina.  This plant shrinks their carbon footprint nationally, supports locally sourced, organic agriculture, and has the ripple effect of generating as many as 700 new jobs for that US community over the next six years.  These same values resulted in the development of their Medford, Oregon facility.  With 1,800 employees overall, and sales expected to top $300 million this year, Amy’s Kitchen competes at the top of the heap, against Nestle, Oscar Meyer, Sara Lee and Kellogg’s, while maintaining their trim tab philosophy – in fact, possibly because they maintain their trim tab philosophy.

Clear values + strong commitment = trim tab action + success

Amy’s Kitchen continues to trim tab in their commitment to their employees.  According to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, They’re planning to open a wellness center for their employees in Santa Rosa, CA and Medford OR, to support worker’s health and control medical costs.  And their trim tab actions continue.  Because of their commitment to conserve energy and maintain a small carbon footprint, they invested in an energy efficient refrigeration system in their Medford plant that saves 1.2mil kWh annually, and adds about $50,000 to their bottom line.

One action can change the world.

Given that more than 99% of produce grown in the US still comes from non-organic farms, Amy’s Kitchen Co-founder, Andy Berliner touts his other major trim tab action:

“Consider the total number of organic ingredients we use: 20mil pounds of tomatoes; 13mil pounds of potatoes; 10mil pounds of wheat; 1mil pounds of peas; it goes on and on. If you consider the total impact environmentally, it’s changing the face of agriculture.”

And changing the face of agriculture, a trim tabber’s dream, is no small potatoes!

So what’s your trim tab opportunity?  What are you doing to be a trim tab in your neck of the woods?

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