A Pandemic Story: Providing Healthy Protein When Customers Need It Most

A Pandemic Story: Providing Healthy Protein When Customers Need It Most

Jon Boyer joined Wild Planet Foods in August 2019 as a customer service representative. Little did he know that in just a few months, he would play a pivotal role in getting Wild Planet's products to customers during an unprecedented time of need.

Employee Spotlight - Jon Boyer, Operations Manager, Wild Planet

When I joined the Wild Planet team in August 2019, I was excited to be part of a company with such a strong commitment to sustainability and ocean conservation. As someone who enjoys fishing and foraging himself, I connected with Wild Planet's mission to be a "force for good" in seafood harvesting. Little did I know that just a few months into my tenure, Wild Planet would face an unprecedented challenge in getting nutritious canned seafood to customers during a global crisis.

As the COVID-19 pandemic swept across America in early 2020, consumer panic buying set in. Grocery store shelves were stripped bare of essentials like toilet paper, shelf-stable foods, and canned proteins. Wild Planet products vanished from stores and online retailers alike due to extremely high demand. Immune-compromised customers depended on direct online ordering to safely access tuna, salmon, sardines, and other Wild Planet offerings. I found myself on the frontlines of customer service, hearing firsthand from scared, frustrated customers struggling to feed their families.

Rather than shying away from the challenge, the Wild Planet team came together. Warehouse staff, production personnel, even executives pitched in long hours, manual labor, and creative problem solving to ramp up Wild Planet's direct-to-consumer distribution by 20 times over. Their effort and sacrifice amidst chaotic, stressful conditions kept Wild Planet's cans flowing to customers who needed them most.

After joining Wild Planet in customer service, I demonstrated strong capabilities managing influxes in order fulfillment operations. My performance during the pandemic rush of direct online ordering showed leadership potential. Now as Wild Planet’s Operations Manager, I oversee aspects of warehousing, domestic logistics and DTC fulfillment across the company’s U.S. operations. It’s very rewarding to manage processes delivering our products sustainably and efficiently to appreciative customers.

Jon Boyer
Operations Manager, Wild Planet Foods 

Jon Boyer catching a leopard shark – Humboldt Bay, CA

Jon Boyer and son, Milo, fishing – Humboldt Lagoons State Park, CA

With four years under Jon’s belt in operations, he was excited to give some behind-the-scenes insight into Wild Planet and why he loves being part of the team working to transform fishing practices for the better. Here’s a quick Q&A covering his favorite products, pivotal moments he’s witnessed, and hopes for the future:

Q: What is your favorite Wild Planet product and why?

A: My favorite is the skipjack tuna in the 5 ounce cans. The skipjack tastes delicious and has a wonderfully smooth texture. Plus, I love that it's a sustainable species that isn't overfished.

Q: Do you have a favorite recipe using Wild Planet products?

A: I'm a big fan of the classic open face tuna melt with tomatoes and melted mozzarella on top. The Wild Planet tuna makes it restaurant quality.

Q: Why do you enjoy working at Wild Planet?

A: I love Wild Planet's commitment to sustainability and educating consumers. The company was founded to be a "force for good" by practicing sustainable fishing. The employee culture focused on customer service and social responsibility is also very motivating.

Q: Can you share any pivotal turning points in Wild Planet's history?

A: When the pandemic hit in early 2020, it was an extremely challenging time as demand for our products skyrocketed. But it also showed Wild Planet at its best. We rallied to fulfill a tenfold increase in online orders and made sure immune-compromised customers had access to nutritious proteins. It reaffirmed that Wild Planet cares about people and the planet first.

Q: What excites you most about Wild Planet's future?

A: I can't wait to see Wild Planet expand distribution so we can bring sustainably caught seafood to even more customers. And the new Ready-to-Eat Tuna Salads show our continued innovation to be a meal provider, not just an ingredient supplier.

Q: What does sustainability mean to you and why is it important?

A: To me, sustainability means participating in the food chain without overtaxing it. Responsible size limits, quotas, and fishing methods allow wild seafood supplies to replenish for future generations.

Q: What do you wish consumers knew about fishing, ocean health or environmental sustainability?

A: I want consumers to understand the link between their grocery store choices and ocean health. Supporting responsible wild fisheries allows fish populations and habitats to thrive over the long term.

Q: Any special Wild Planet memories you'd like to share?

A: I'll never forget seeing Bill Carvalho, our Founder, passionately speaking to customers about Wild Planet's mission at a trade show. It reminded me this company truly cares about changing the industry for the better - not just making a quick profit. That moment made me proud to be part of the team.

Rising to meet the challenges presented by the pandemic crisis of 2020 made Jon feel more connected than ever to Wild Planet's goal of "fishing for good." Having a behind-the-scenes look at employees' selfless efforts to nourish customers restored his faith in Wild Planet’s genuine commitment to compassion alongside conservation. By living up to responsibilities - both to sustaining ocean life and sustaining human life - Wild Planet embodies Jon’s personal values of environmental stewardship. He looks forward to the ways that responsible harvesting practices and conscious consumer choices come together to heal rather than harm our natural world.
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