Unwelcome brand recognition

Google images: "beef lasagne horsemeat"

The scare in the UK about horsemeat in food products that are supposedly made from beef presents real issues for the brands concerned.

The latest news is about Findus UK which makes beef lasagne products. Media reports everywhere are about the discovery that some of those products contain “up to 100% horsemeat.”

See what you get if you do a Google image search on “frozen beef lasagnes horsemeat.”

No brand name mentioned in the search term, but the Findus name, logo and packaging are all over the results.

Reputation and trust in the brand under threat. Events still developing…


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Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. David Phillips

    What is key here is to continue with the transparency. They put their hans up. Now they need journalists and bloggers invited in to observe how they are going to source new content.
    Why not have a G+ huddle with live YouTube showing board discussions real time.
    Next is to have embedded bloggers watching the people who source, test and visit suppliers. Show it all. Warts and all. The community would rally round them.
    It would show how boards work on such occasions and would turn a disaster into a triumph.

  2. Rob Brown

    It looks like instead they are trying to spin the story  "A spokesman from Burson Marsteller …said that the beef in the Findus beef lasagne had been found in tests to be on average 60% horsemeat, but added that beef only accounted for 15% of the product anyway."  Frankly ridiculous to think that would help.

    • Neville Hobson

      That quoted statement is pretty lame, Rob, I agree. I was just reading a statement on their website http://www.findus.co.uk/, which reads in full:

      At Findus UK we are committed to our customers and the quality of our products. Following a thorough investigation, Findus UK can confirm that testing of its beef lasagne, produced by a 3rd party supplier and not by Findus, has revealed some product containing horse meat.

      As a precautionary measure, on Monday we coordinated a full withdrawal of our affected beef lasagne in the following sizes – 320g, 360g and 500g, from all retailers. All other Findus products have been tested and are not affected.

      We understand this it is a very sensitive subject for consumers and we would like to reassure you we have reacted immediately. We do not believe this to be a food safety issue.

      We are confident that we have fully resolved this supply chain issue. Fully compliant beef lasagne will be in stores again soon.

      Consumers who have purchased to the product should call our Findus UK Customer Care Line on UK 0800 132584, ROI 1800800500 or email careline@findus.co. for a full refund.

      We would like to take this opportunity to apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused.

      What I see right now is that the company has met the immediate need to say something to acknowledge the matter and provide a semblance at least of reassurance that their products are safe. The statement does that, imo, whatever anyone may think of the words. It gets wide reporting in the media.

      And I assume the PR folk and others are in very active listening mode, before saying anything else or saying anything about doing anything else.

      I’d say they’ve now got a grace period until Monday at the latest to pro act. Unless more bad news emerges, either about Findus specifically or elsewhere about horsemeat generally.

  3. Krishna De

    Neville, I was just reading of other organisations potentially involved as part of the supply chain – some with staff of far less than 100 where I am sure they will not have anyone trained for the media attention this is getting and I suspect they will not have a communications or PR agency on their staff.

    As a consumer it’s concerning as it comes back to the issue of trust in the source of the products we purchase.

    I have noted with interest that one food retailer has been absent for all mentions in the news relating to horse meat and they do not stock brands such as Findus. That organisation is Marks and Spencers. I have had the opportunity to meet with some of their Irish meat suppliers and I know they have very strict quality standards for their whole meat products. I am sure they are have been checking to ensure their ready meals are not impacted.

    And I wonder what the situation with food services companies who could have been supplied with products such as in schools, hospitals and company restaurants?

    Only time will tell what else will be uncovered in relation to this story. On a personal level I have accepted that it is likely I have eaten horse meat without knowing it!

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