With the food and beverage industry more competitive than ever, strong food safety leadership can become a powerful brand differentiator. To successfully transform food safety and food defense practices into value propositions, however , consumer-facing companies must leverage transparency strategically and elevate their food safety practices across the supply chain.
The Importance of Food Safety Leadership
In the wake of high-profile foodborne risks such as the recent nutritional drink recall, consumers interested in safe and healthy food products are demanding greater responsibility and transparency from food and beverage companies. With the CDC estimating that 48 million people fall ill from food-related diseases annually in the United States alone, phrases such as “dedication to food safety” or “food safety transparency” cannot be mere buzzwords used to attract customers.
While most food safety leaders are aware that good food safety protects companies’ brand reputation and market value, transforming stringent food safety and quality control measures into customer-facing communication, branding, and marketing requires a whole new set of competencies and strategies.
5 Ways to Leverage Food Safety as a Brand Differentiator
While you may be familiar with your food safety practices, turning them into a brand differentiator means understanding your final consumer more deeply than ever. Ask yourself how familiar they are with food safety regulations and terminology. What aspects of food safety do they care about most? What would they like to see from your company? Once you have these answers, consider the following actions:
- Infuse food safety into your brand story. One of your company’s most valuable assets is its story, which informs customers of why you do what you do. While many companies can tell tales of innovation and invention, developing a narrative around food safety can help you stand out.
- Be transparent about your supply chain. Some companies may be reticent to discuss their supply chain, yet, showing customers the farm-to-fork processes is a powerful way to demonstrate your dedication to food safety. You can, for example, build an interactive landing page, so consumers can see precisely where their food comes from and how it was produced.
- Provide consumers with food safety resources. A lot of food safety jargon and regulation can be difficult to parse through without technical knowledge, so consider building curated customer resources that distill key takeaways in a way they can understand. By providing consumers with content to learn more about their roles in ensuring safe food supply chains, they will feel empowered as well as informed.
- Share your certified standards with consumers. If certified standards are the basis for your food safety goals, find a place on your website and other branding materials to let consumers know. This can help them trust that your company actively works toward achieving the highest standards of food safety, differentiating your brand from competitors who may not meet the same certification standards.
- Use multiple channels to communicate your commitment to food safety. Some consumers get their information from social media, while others rely on in-store signage or email campaigns. Research how your final consumers learn about and evaluate food safety, then ensure you’re using the right channels to reach them.
Today’s consumers demand higher quality, safer, and healthier products. Unsurprisingly, consumer-facing companies that implement transparency into their branding and marketing are those poised to build not only their trust and confidence but also brand equity and reputation that can translate into larger market share in the long-term.
To reap these benefits, however, the first step is to make your food safety culture and processes the best they can be. Take your food safety leadership to the next level by using the AIB International Consolidated Standards for Inspection as a blueprint for improving food safety today.