“Traditionally manufacturers haven’t made a big thing of promoting food safety and quality standards to end consumers,” said Neil Giles, marketing communications manager for the product inspection division of Mettler-Toledo.
“This is mostly because topics such as contamination have negative connotations behind them,” Giles told BakeryandSnacks.com.
However, he said that within the next two to three years, there will be a shift towards this communication across Europe, particularly in the packaged baked goods area and this will be positive for business.
Communication: The road to differentiation
The shift towards increased communication on quality and safety standards would likely be initiated by the bigger players, Giles said, as these firms will have more cash and market share is especially important to them.
“Most bakery manufacturers need to differentiate themselves from competitors, and talking about quality and safety standards is a good vehicle to do so,” he said.
As European bakers start to communicate on safety and quality, Asia is a great example to look to, he said.
“In Asia, manufacturers are advertising that products meet Western standards and on packaging you see references to HACCP processing and other international standards. The Asian industry is quite smart there – getting that message out to consumers.”
He noted however, that the communication would need to go beyond just information on labels as there is already a lot of information on labels.
“Communication would be stronger if we could raise the agenda with PR activity too,” he said.
Communicating recalls is a thin line
Communication is also essential when recalls do occur, Giles said.
The product must be explicitly defined, with best before dates, batch numbers and product types outlined along with the reason for the recall.
“It’s quite a thin line to walk. Manufacturers don’t want to be alarmist but the message needs to be very, very clear.”