Menopause warriors

Premier Foods is taking on the menopause on multiple fronts.
May 19, 2024

Initial menopause awareness training was provided to colleagues in 2022 but during 2023 the issue was brought to life thanks to a breadth of initiatives which have contributed to making it part of everyday conversation within Premier Foods. As well as establishing a menopause policy for all colleagues and training up line managers, an approach has been developed which takes menopause conversations to all parts of the business, driven and owned by colleagues themselves.

Menopause cafés, inspired by a colleague suggestion, took place monthly throughout 2023 to explore issues, raise questions and offer support to anyone who wanted to join. Predominantly virtual, face-to-face sessions were also run at three manufacturing sites and are being taken to more in the next phase of the programme. The approach has spawned a group of self-styled ‘Menopause Warriors’ who represent their colleagues on related issues and keep an informal network going between cafés, providing a point of contact for anyone who wants to talk.

This openness has inspired greater confidence to tackle the stigma of the menopause among individuals, who feel supported to raise menopause issues with their line managers when necessary. The Menopause Warriors have even taken our approach on the road, putting on a session at Diversity in Grocery LIVE, which was enthusiastically received by attendees.

Practical steps have been taken to support colleagues dealing with symptoms, for example the introduction of lighter weight uniforms for use in our manufacturing sites, particularly during the summer. With some factories heating sauces up to 85 degrees they can be particularly difficult environments for people handling hot flushes. Premier Foods has also partnered with the Menopause Experts, which endorses the company’s approach and has supplied training materials which have been accessed by hundreds of colleagues. 

With a workforce which is 36% female and where nearly 55% of those women are over the age of 45, putting menopause issues at the centre of our I&D work on gender will play a key role in helping us reach our target of gender balance for the senior management population by 2030.

Menopause Warriors at a talk