Gutter oil alert: appetite for trusted brands grows following food scandal

Sensemaking / Gutter oil alert: appetite for trusted brands grows following food scandal

Brands in East Asian markets must show that they are safe to maintain consumer confidence.

By Will Simpson / 27 Nov 2014

Safety underlies the attraction of established food brands to consumers in East Asian markets. Appetite for trusted sources grew following crises such as China’s 2008 milk scandal, in which infant formula was found to contain the protein adulteration melamine; the contamination affected 300,000 infants, of which six died.

Another recent food scandal has highlighted the need for brands to maintain the strictest health and safety standards – which involves building transparency into supply chains.

In Taiwan and Hong Kong, during the midautumn festival of the moon, it emerged that pineapple cakes and mooncakes – two popular products – had been taken off the shelves due to fears that they contained Taiwanese lard that had been mixed with cooking oil illegally ‘recycled’ from the grease traps that collect waste in sewers.

By the middle of the month the scandal had moved to Singapore where other Taiwanese snacks – not just mooncakes – were being removed from supermarkets.

In East Asia the high number of fake goods has meant consumers are generally not as trusting of brands as their European or North American counterparts. Tackling corruption and taking every possible step to ensure that a product is safe is essential for any brand after consumer confidence has been rocked. - Will Simpson

Image credit: istock

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