Beef Industry Takes Stock

By Barrett, Patrick | Marketing, March 28, 1996 | Go to article overview

Beef Industry Takes Stock


Barrett, Patrick, Marketing


Public concern about 'mad-cow' disease has been a PR disaster for British beef. How should the meat industry and retailers respond to the crisis, asks Patrick Barrett

McDonald's escalated the 'mad cow disease crisis' this week when it took British beef off the menu at its burger restaurants across the UK. No burgers are being sold at its outlets until at least today (Thursday), when non-British supplies arrive.

Critics argue that McDonald's has over-reacted, but the company itself insists its priority is to ensure the peace of mind of its consumers.

Paul Preston, McDonald's president, says: "Our customers expect us to take a lead and we have. We believe that British beef is safe. However, we cannot ignore the fact that recent announcements have led to a growing loss of consumer confidence in British beef."

Wimpy has since followed McDonald's example and the Burger King chain is thought likely to bow to pressure to do the same.

But the speed and certainty of McDonald's move has not been matched by others. From ministers through to farming lobbyists and retailers, there has been little clear decision-making. Most seem to have adopted a wait-and-see policy.

Public relations advisors say that could prove a disastrous response for the British beef industry in the face of headlines warning that mad-cow disease could be worse than Aids and deathbed pictures of victims.

Dangerous delays

So how can the image of British beef be rescued from oblivion? And is the only solution to follow McDonald's and go for a drastic measures - with the mass slaughter of millions of British cows?

The government has come under fire for its reluctance to take a tough enough stance on the risk of beef infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), which now appears capable of causing Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease in humans.

The delays continued last week when the Department of Health first briefed Ogilvy & Mather to come up with a [pounds]250,000 national press campaign. It then scrapped the campaign, due to fears that the public response could overwhelm its switchboards.

"I thought it was very possible Whitehall switchboards would go into meltdown as a result of the campaign," says the department's director of information Romola Christopherson.

She says the department opted instead for a help-line message from the chief medical officer stating the government's policy on the issue.

Christopherson says the government will launch a press campaign, probably through Ogilvy & Mather, addressing the crisis when it is thought necessary.

But if the government is keeping its powder dry, those with beef-related products to sell have taken a more active line to try to retain consumer confidence.

Supermarket chains have launched an information blitz in a bid to keep customers informed of which products contain beef or beef derivatives. All the supermarkets are keen to say their first priority is the consumer and most are reluctant to speculate on just how damaging the present crisis would be for the image of British beef.

Sainsbury's and Tesco are reviewing their product-labelling policies and Tesco distributed a leaflet in its stores over the weekend listing all products containing beef.

Sainsbury's says it will put up notices in all its outlets stating the chain's beef-sourcing policy, and is launching recipe cards offering 'alternative' ingredients.

Somerfield, which admits the government's announcement is a "potential disaster for the industry", has taken a more radical approach, promising to refund double the price of any beef products if customers are dissatisfied with them. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Beef Industry Takes Stock
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.