Employee Ownership in the U.S. Food System During COVID-19: New Evidence on Outcomes for Firms and Workers - CLEO Skip to main content


The NCEO conducted a first-of-its-kind study to examine whether and how employee ownership affected firms and workers in the U.S. food system during the COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing on an industry-focused survey of food businesses with employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) and a comparison group of non-ESOP food businesses, along with retirement plan filing data and qualitative interviews, we found that employee ownership was associated with substantial benefits for firms and workers during the height of COVID-19 across a variety of measures.