BIOTECH CORN Insecticide 8 other varieties approved for human consumption StarLink’s biotech corn was NOT approved PROBLEM = Cry9C Environmental Protection Agency stated StarLink’s biotech corn was only to be used for livestock feed and ethanol fuel Causes allergic reactions (mild allergy to fatal shock)
CRISISSeptember 18, 2000 Friends of the Earth sends a news release to media outlets announcing that test results found traces of biotech corn (unsuitable for human consumption) in taco shells produced by Kraft Foods. The FOE ordered the taco shells be removed from store shelves immediately.
RESEARCH Kraft Foods decides to conduct an EXPERIMENT Type: PROBLEM RESEARCH Quantitative Research (Hard Data) Formal Research Process Secondary Research FDA
GOALS ONE ULTIMATE GOAL Type: Reputation ManagementTo protect the reputation of Kraft Foods
OBJECTIVES To verify FOE’s test results immediately by working with the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency. To address consumer anxieties and provide consumers with answers regarding health concerns. To make the product unavailable immediately if unapproved Cry9C is found to be present in the taco shells.
PROGRAMMING & PLANNING STRATEGY To communicate on a national level and emphasize that biotech corn found in Kraft Foods’ taco shells is not entirely dangerous to the health of all consumers.
PROGRAMMING & PLANNING TACTICS Keep the taco shells on the shelves as long as possible. One day after FOE test results were released, Kraft Foods issued a statement explaining the taco shells would be tested. The same day Kraft issued the statement, the company also released more information to consumers. (Q & A) Sept. 22, 2000 Kraft Foods chief executive announced the recall of the products. Offered a second Q & A following the recall of the taco shells. Presented recommendations for biotechnology.
EVALUATION Objective # 1 To verify FOE’s test results immediately by working with the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency. S: FDA and EPA involvement M: FDA’s test results A: Kraft has the ability to work with FDA and EPA R: No mention of budget T: Issued statement 1 day after FOE’s new release and released results 4 days later.
EVALUATION Objective # 2 To address consumer anxieties and provide consumers with answers regarding health concerns. Issued two Q&A’s to the public S: Targeting Kraft Food’s consumers M: Media coverage A: Impossible to cease all consumer worries R: No mention of budget T: Issued statements and Q&A (Sept. 19) After recall, issued second Q&A (Sept. 22) *No specific mention of these dates
EVALUATION Objective # 3 To make the product unavailable immediately if unapproved Cry9C is found to be present in the taco shells. Kept taco shells on store shelves until test results confirmed the presence of StarLink Sept. 22, 2000 official recall of taco shells Suspended taco shell production S: All taco shells recalled M: Track grocery stores who carry the taco shells (over 2.5 million packages) A: Must make all carriers aware taco shells have been recalled R: No mention of budget T: Recalled four days after test results were confirmed
CASE COMPARISON Case # 11: Kraft Foods Case # 13: Bausch & Lomb •Major global food supplier •Highly respected health care brand •Biotech corn: Taco Bell taco shells •ReNu lens cleaners •Ingredient causing allergic reactions •Microbe causing blindness (fungi) •FOE released lab test results •Health authorities were not notified •Kraft did not recall taco shells •Still sold in U.S. immediately •May CDC announces results •Waited for FDA test results to recall the •Bausch & Lomb decides to recall product product after findings were announced •Public was extremely anxious, they •The public was unhappy with the wanted answers immediately response •Recall occurred AFTER results were •Bausch & Lomb takes a big hit found •After recall, reputation rebuilding •Little reputation management following began immediately recall *Both companies put THEMSELVES before CONSUMERS!
UPDATE Twitter account for Kraft Foods Create a blog for Kraft Foods’ consumers to discuss their thoughts on biotech corn and other questionable ingredients Include links on Kraft Foods’ website directing concerned consumers to articles regarding information on bio tech corn
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1. How could Kraft’s response have been more proactive to the initial crisis? 2. Did Kraft do the right thing by leaving the taco shells on store shelves until the lab results were presented? Was the recall too late? 3. Taco Bell’s home line of products were in question, how could Taco Bell as a restaurant utilize PR strategy and tactics to differentiate their products from those in question, ensure consumer safety and continue with a steady flow of business? 4. Were the Q&A’s too brief? If you were a concerned customer, did they cover all of the information you wanted to know? 5. Should food companies use labels or warning signs when they use biotech foods? What other ways could companies inform the public about the dangers or benefits of using biotech foods?