Our response to Covid-19

The role of Tiger Brands as an essential service provider during Covid-19, has highlighted the importance of our business as a key contributor to food and nutrition security in South Africa. People are our biggest asset; they shape and drive the success of our business.


Our experience of this crisis has affirmed the development of our 2019 Sustainable Future strategy, which contextualises and strengthens our Covid-19 response. It sets us on the path to growing Tiger Brands as a business that is both future-fit and fit-for-purpose.

In the event of a positive Covid-19 case, we:

  • Ensure compliance with government regulations and protocols
  • Conduct a certified decontamination process
  • Facilitate contact-tracing to prevent further spread
  • Cover the costs of our Covid-19 tests
  • Ensure no loss of income during a Covid-19-related absence
  • Provide access to 24-hour counselling support
  • Keep the DoH, NICD and our union partners informed of the situation

The same communities that nurture our employees, host the customers and consumers who facilitate demand for our products. Without looking after our employees and extended community, it is impossible for our business to thrive. Similarly, we cannot deliver on our purpose without responding to the social and environmental challenges that emerge in our operating environment. Now more than ever before, we are driven “to nourish and nurture more lives everyday”.

See Who We Are

See Operating Environment in IR

Covid-19 emerged as an unprecedented crisis, driving new and amplifying existing risks to the business. Our sector has generally been less impacted than others, yet the challenges have remained significant. In addition to the direct threat to business continuity and profitability, the crisis has deepened complexity in our operating environment, amplified intense competition in the food sector, pressurised our occupational-health and food-safety performance, and forced us to take-on the risks and rewards of an accelerated digital transformation. Nationally, the pandemic has further weakened our economy, wrought new changes to already muted and shifting consumer spending and exacerbated broader patterns of unemployment, poverty, inequality and hunger. Activism has been re-ignited through this new struggle, and this has amplified calls for business to “lead with purpose” and participate multi-stakeholder efforts to “build back better”.

These patterns look set to remain over the medium to long term and we cannot ignore them in our forward-looking strategies to create value. Our experience of this crisis has affirmed the development of our 2019 Sustainable Future strategy, which contextualises and strengthens our Covid-19 response. It sets us on the path to growing Tiger Brands as a business that is both future-fit and fit-for-purpose.

See Our Sustainability Strategy

“At Tiger Brands, our people are our biggest asset. Through them, we deliver on our purpose to nourish and nurture more lives everyday. The wellbeing of our staff and their families is therefore extremely important to us. We are committed to providing a safe working environment and protecting all employees from harm as far as reasonably possible and have introduced very rigorous measures to help protect all our people throughout this pandemic.”

Tiger Brands Covid-19 safety packs

At a time when the rate of Covid-19 infections was high and job losses escalating, Tiger Brands provided Covid-19 safety packs to all staff and their families, through an initiative designed to support safety, job creation and social inclusion. Each safety pack consisted of branded face masks, bottles of hand sanitiser, and a Covid-19 safety information booklet (also available online and in five languages).

The Skills Village supported Tiger Brands to manage the project, so that the positive impact on safety was extended to job creation and social inclusion. Tiger Brands’ order of 30 000 masks through the House of Monatic in Cape Town, helped employ 500 staff; 85% of whom are women from surrounding communities such as Elsies River, Parow and Bellville. The cloth bags that held the safety items were made by Intando-Yesiswe and the Hop Manufacturing Sewing Primary Cooperatives, while Ishishini Secondary Cooperative packed the bags and kept a count of progress. These activities supported the employment of 20 staff; 90% of whom are black women.

The project forms part of a series of Covid-19 initiatives undertaken by Tiger Brands, aimed at keeping our employees safe and continuing our community food support. The project was funded from a portion of the salaries voluntarily forfeited by our Exco and board members, providing an example of how our societal purpose – to nourish and nurture more lives everyday – inspired the actions of our leadership in their efforts to navigate the business through this crisis.

Tiger Brands remembers

During the period, Tiger Brands conducted 5 383 Covid-19 tests and had 981 positive cases. It is with deep sadness that we report the loss of 11 of our employees to Covid-19 this year. Throughout the months of the crisis, we observed moments of silence across the group in remembrance of those recently lost.

We have valued the service of these employees and the unique magic they brought to our team. We will remember them all – may they rest in peace.

Cynthia Kalipha (Paarl jam factory), Attie Swart (L&AF), Bulelelo Mangcala (L&AF), Agnes Molapi (HPC Isando), Julia Maseyimane (Milling Hennenman), Andre Kana (L&AF), Gcobani Honono (Albany Margate), Basil Grove (Culinary Vegetable Unit), Alpheus Ramoraswi (Culinary Labelling Unit), Simon Mflathelwa Mashiane (Boksburg Culinary), Mantoa Lacky Makhubalo (Boksburg Culinary).

Tiger Brands responded deliberately to the Covid-19 pandemic

    Our approach    
  • Ensure the availability of our products
  • Keep our employees safe
  • Continue our community food support
  • Ensure senior oversight on plans and actions
  • Develop a clear understanding of Covid-19 and its transmission
  • Align with government regulations and protocols
  • Continual monitoring of the situation and our performance
  • Continual engagement with internal and external stakeholders
  • Continual adaption and re-prioritising the safety of our people
  • Exco Coronavirus Task Team that meets regularly
  • Emergency Response Plan (ERP) to guide our business units
  • OHSA-approved risk assessments conducted at each site
  • Business Continuity Plans (BCPs) for all operations
  • Specific health and safety protocols implemented at all sites
  • Strong disciplinary action for employees in breach of safety protocols
  • Whistleblowing facility (www.tip-offs.com) fully operational for reporting violations

Our actions


Ensuring the availability of our products

To ensure the availability of our products, we have taken actions across our supply chain to:

  • Understand our exposure and address anticipated shortages
  • Ramp-up manufacturing of essential products
  • Support suppliers with awareness-raising, PPE and financial planning
  • Understand our flexibility to redirect materials to alternate manufacturing sites
  • Evaluate alternative sourcing options for all impacted materials
  • Work with suppliers, logistics and customers to buffer stock and limit disruptions
  • Kick-off the design of resilient future supply chains

Keeping our employees safe

To keep employees safe, we have taken actions to:

  • Increase communication and awareness efforts to employees
  • Increase health screening and testing for all staff at all sites
  • Institute a travel ban and suspend all in-person training events
  • Manage shifts to ensure social distancing on-site
  • Prioritise digital meetings and work-from-home where possible
  • Procure private transport for staff at our factories
  • Provide masks and hand sanitisers to staff and their families
  • Implement daily deep-cleaning protocols across all factories
  • Ensure rigorous daily hygiene and sanitisation protocols
  • Enhance communication of health and safety awareness
  • Provide additional access to wellness support services
  • Adapt leave policies to accommodate Covid-19- related absences
  • Implement a phased reintegration plan
  • Implement a Covid-19 employee incentive during the 21-day lockdown

Continuing our community food support

To continue our community food support, we:

  • Freed-up R3,5 million in capital through voluntary salary sacrifices from our senior leadership
  • Assisted our partners with an additional 12 000 food hampers through our Family Food Programme, with a total of 105 648 hampers distributed this year
  • Adapted our School Nutrition Programme to distribute 15 000 food hampers to homebound school children (Tiger Brands Foundation)
  • Continued our support of 4 500 students through our Plates4Days programme
  • Donated R9 million worth of bread to various organisations, including to frontline healthcare workers at Charlotte Maxeke and Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospitals and others
  • Re-focused our distribution of near-dated stock and donated 1 000 units of hand sanitiser and 10 000 food hampers to vulnerable communities by Food Forward SA
  • Published press releases to allay public fears of food shortage and calm panic buying
  • Supported job creation through the manufacture of Tiger Brands Covid-19 safety packs