Maple Leaf Foods

Published: 2021-07-01 07:25:27
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Category: Food

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Maple Leaf Foods – Communication Strategy Analysis Post Crisis Introduction to Maple Leaf Foods: Maple Leaf Foods Inc. is a prominent food processing company headquartered in Toronto, Canada. Foods holds its motto as commitment to food safety, stating that its meat processing facilities are federally inspected and meet the highest standard for food safety. Its major business is processed pork and includes brands such as Squirrel peanut butter and Black Diamond cheese. In the year 2008, its employee base was 24000 and recorded sales of $5. 2billion. Details of Product Crisis:
In 2008, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Public Health Agency of Canada identified a strain of L. monocytogenes (listeria) in MapleLeaf Foods products. Consumption of food contaminated with Listeria causes a rare illness known as Listeriosis, the symptoms of which include fever, muscle aches and sometimes nausea and diarrhea. In the more severe form, symptoms also include collapse and shock. Causes: Bacteria were traced to the slicing equipment at Maple Leaf’s Bartor Road plant in Toronto. The regular sanitization had not cleaned the equipment properly allowing the bacteria to grow to high levels of concentration that cause illness.
The bacteria ended up in deli meats, which were largely distributed to nursing homes and hospitals. Impact: The Listeria case impacted Maple Leaf Foods in the following ways: * Societal Impacts will include public cost, medical cost, low productivity, foregone income, psychological impact, etc * Firm-level Impacts will include product recall, clean-up, reputation, tarnished brand image and fall in share price * Industry-level Impacts will include loss of consumer confidence, fall in demand, loss of export access and damage to product to product category Post-crisis communication strategy:



The communication strategy was adopted as per Seymour and Moore’s 5Cs of communication framework, as explained below: * Care: Company’s senior management was completely approachable during the crisis. Unconditional apology and unequivocal responsibility was offered by president- Michael McCain. The company released backgrounders, fact sheets and FAQ documents demonstrating care for its key stakeholders. It also released an apology video, empathizing with the affected customers. * Commitment: Displayed commitment by initiating a widespread recall and well-publicized sanitations of affected plant.
Communicated details about the bacteria, post-contact information both online and through traditional media sources. The company assembled a consortium of industry leading food safety experts to advice on operational enhancements. * Consistency and Coherence: All messages were consistent assuring food safety and the well-being of its consumers. The company launched an external company blog to maintain a direct and candid conversation with interested Canadians. McCain proved to be an ideal spokesperson who clearly explained the company’s position as well as the actions the company enacted to remedy the situation. Clarity: Came up with the following innovative media campaign:-“Passionate people, passionate about food” to restore their image. They repositioned themselves as the experts on Listeria and global leader in food safety. They also launched a national Listeria education and outreach program exploring the issues related to this illness. Conclusion: The company’s 5 C communication framework helped recover consumer confidence. The post-crisis communication was open, effective and credible. Therefore effective communication plays a pivotal role in regaining consumer confidence.

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