COVID-19 Food Safety and Product Messaging
As companies begin to get back into a more regular momentum of retail, it’s important to look into what is required in order to meet food safety guidelines, and how these guidelines may affect your food products.
Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
In general, because of the low survival rate of coronavirus on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packaging.
This is great news for companies with food products. Knowing that there is low risk in COVID-19 transmission, production and distribution can increase to normal rates. The hurdle then becomes generating enough awareness of the safety and low-risk of disease transmission to the market. With production increases, it is important that your purchasing rate matches that. In a time of much fear and unknown, developing strong marketing messaging around your company’s product safety is important. It will help create trust and confidence in the product, and increase sales.
Let’s take a look at one company that is handling COVID Food Safety messaging particularly well- Good Foods Group. Danyel O’Connor, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Good Foods Group, Pleasant Prairie, Wis., said she doesn’t expect consumer buying habits to go back to what they once were, even after this Pandemic is over. Because of that, it’s important to pivot your marketing and messaging accordingly. “We’re going to see increased residual purchase habits or behavior in those areas because people are being forced to eat at home more frequently or they’re feeling less safe out in larger groups of people,” she said.
Good Foods Group makes produce-centric products such as avocado mash, guacamole, salads, dressings, juices and plant-based dips using high-pressure processing, or cold-pressure pasteurization. Traditional pasteurization uses high heat to remove bacteria but can also reduce the amount of some vitamins. Although their products have often been used for hosting and gathering with groups, they’ve realigned their marketing to match current consumer needs. O’Connor said, “People aren’t entertaining right now, except for your family at home, your small, close-knit immediate family, so our messaging has been, how do we help consumers get through this phase? It’s through simple recipe ideas, two or three ingredients, and sharing how other consumers are using the products at home.”
Using these same principles, you can pivot your messaging to highlight more simple, easy, quick, comforting ideas. It’s also important to look at what stresses your consumers are under, and use those stressors to adjust your messaging accordingly.
Knowing that COVID-19 is not likely to be transmitted through product manufacturing, it’s time to turn your messaging and marketing to help give consumers peace of mind, and options of ways that your product can help or comfort consumers during this time of unknown.