Will Consumers Abandon Your Brand After A Food Scare?

Find Allies in Unexpected Places to Regain Consumer Trust


Consumers say that a food recall doesn’t have to mean the end of a brand. More than half (54%) want to hear the food producer’s side of a story. A recent survey also shows that 1 in 4 is willing to buy the product as soon as it’s available again. A new white paper, “Allies in Unexpected Places – How Trust in the Media Can Help Your Food Brand,” from SHS FoodThink explains how consumers react and behave when the media reports news of a food scare and what food marketers can do to protect themselves and their consumers.

“Americans rely on the media, especially local TV, to get information about food products or issues they care about, but they don’t stop there,” said Jamil Malone, FoodThink analyst. “After they see those stories, they do their own research and talk to their family and friends about what they’ve heard.”

Food Fears: The Role of Media as Reported by the Consumer

  • 67% still want the media to break stories about how food is produced.
  • 45% think the media is more trustworthy than food manufacturers and restaurants.

“Food marketers may hesitate or be nervous to talk about news of a recall or a food safety issue. But they can calm consumers’ fears by being transparent about their efforts in numerous channels, including building relationships with reporters,” said Malone. “Consumers want to hear all sides of the story and they’ll start to fill in the gaps themselves if they don’t hear from the company.”

Avoid Becoming a Taboo Food Brand: Inform Consumers Who Use Multiple Channels to Fact-check

  • 54% of Americans share interesting food production stories with friends and family.
  • 66% of consumers say they will return to a brand after a food scare, once they feel comfortable and enough time has passed.

The white paper also covers various topics like memorable food stories from 2015 according to consumers, as well as why some stories were better remembered than others.

FoodThink white papers are built on proprietary research conducted in 2014 and utilize the responses from more than 2,000 U.S. consumers of diverse demographic backgrounds.

Download a free copy of the white paper with key implications for food marketers, and follow the blog at shsfoodthink.com.