They say that every job has its perks—something that any teenager with a summer job has taken full advantage of. (Hell, when you're stuck wearing a bow tie behind a sweltering movie theater counter in July, the free popcorn and Icees are sometimes the only sources of morale.)
For employees at food megacorporation Kraft, these benefits once included boundless mouthfuls of cheese sticks, and jiggling Jell-O as far as the eye could see. But now, the Jell-O jiggles no more.
According to a memo obtained by Bloomberg and confirmed by several unidentified employees, the time are a' changing around the Kraft offices ever since fellow food giant Heinz absorbed the company this month. And the times of carefree snacking are coming to an end. Warren Buffett, it seems, does not support an endless buffet for employees.
New policies for employees are aimed at cutting the company's costs on a whole—and in addition to reducing spending on travel, electricity, and office supplies, the free snacks are over. Soon, the times of plenty will be but a distant memory.
Office fridges that were once stocked with Kraft-made foods were recently removed from the brand's Chicago headquarters, and additional restrictions have been placed on outside food that employees bring in for their own consumption—namely, that they can't be made by rival companies unless it's part of a research project. For example, don't even think about lunching on a Lean Cuisine, made by those cretins over at Nestlé.
Similar changes were implemented at Heinz two years ago after it was sold to Buffett's conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and 3G. Employees who were considered extraneous were laid off, and management hacked away at any costs that were considered unnecessary. Mini fridges in the office were prohibited due to their high energy consumption, and limits were decreed on how many pages of paper could be printed each month. But it worked; Heinz's profit margins are gargantuan. And the new management at Kraft aims to reduce annual costs by some $1.5 billion within the next two years.
In a statement issued yesterday by Kraft Heinz Co., spokesman Michael Mullen said, "The provisions we recently shared across our business—such as leveraging technology and ensuring the judicious use of outside resources—are consistent with many practices already in place … These provisions reflect our drive for increased accountability and efficiency that will enable reinvestment in our people, products and brands."
But Michael, we are really going to miss those cheese sticks.
Perhaps the higher-ups at Kraft Heinz Co. haven't yet learned that free mozzarella makes for happy citizens. Hell hath no fury like a hungry employee scorned.