In a recent interview with Food Tank, father-daughter J. Miles Reiter and Brie Reiter Smith of Driscoll’s, the world’s largest berry company, spoke about Driscoll’s plans for a greener, consumer-friendly future. They also discussed the way their family values translate across the company’s supply chain.
Reiter is a fourth-generation grower and the grandson of one of Driscoll’s founders. He serves as Driscoll’s chair and CEO. Reiter Smith is the Director of Blackberry Product Leadership, and is also the owner and operator of a blueberry company called BerrySmith Ltda. in Chile.
Working by what they call a ‘One Family philosophy', the company says they celebrate the contribution of its workers across every step of the supply chain. Reiter Smith said that Driscoll has always referred to the company as a family because the company is not vertically integrated; this means that instead of growing and selling its own fruits globally, it is better to interact with thousands of independent growers all over the world.
“We had to immediately acknowledge that every single person who played a part in that process was kind of included, at least conceptually, as part of our company and what we do,” Reiter Smith says, adding that the company views its own employees and the workers employed by its suppliers as equally important.
Reiter and Reiter Smith also expressed the hope that the sense of renewed appreciation for workers due to COVID-19 will have a lasting impact. “I was really hopeful when there was so much positive press about essential workers and farm workers,” Reiter Smith says.