How the 'Udder Truth' helps protect your brand
Learn more about Responsible Supply Chain advisory team
Hot topics like water use in drought-striken California and accusations of deforestation over palm oil are putting pressure on food and beverage manufacturers.
The power of social media can put companies in the middle if suppliers are seen as violating what influencers see as acceptable social or environmental actions.
To counter misinformation and behavior of a few irresponsible companies that may hurt an entire industry, some companies are trying a new approach.
Dairy Management Inc. recently worked with the satirical site The Onion to use humor to dispel myths around farming and the treatment of animals. Calling the campaign The Udder Truth, it's using Onion articles to point readers to videos addressing misconceptions around big farms, antibiotics and cow care.
Dairy Today says it's a way for the industry to build public trust and target Millennials, many of whom are disconnected from the farm process.
Leaders at Cargill say to be able to tell a story, companies need to know how to identify potential problems in supply chains to mitigate risks, both real and perceived.
"The consumer today wants to know - is it safe? What’s going into the mouths of my children?" says Mike Etzel, vice president of sales for Cargill Food Ingredients.
"Having deep knowledge of the supply chain can tease out that safety and trust information to build consumer confidence," advises Etzel. "I think today, you can get a higher premium or margin if you can demonstrate each step in how food reaches the dinner table."
Etzel says having extensive knowledge of the supply chain arms companies with the knowledge to fend off criticism.
Impacting the passive consumer
Negative attention in social media can influence people previously considered to be passive consumers, according to Jody Longshore of Cargill.
As general manager for North American Oils, Longshore worked with many customers examining their supply chains. He says consumers who might not feel passionately about a certain topic, may still be swayed by conversations online.
"You might have a target consumer who is not an activist in a particular area, yet that target consumer's purchase intent might be influenced because they see your brand presented negatively in social media on a regular basis," says Longshore.
"They develop an overall negative impression of your brand and when they see you on the shelf next to somebody else, they may not pick up your product."
Longshore says you can mitigate those risks by taking a broad look at your supply chains with a team of professionals - giving you transparency to answer to stakeholders and social media users.
New advisory business
How can you execute this examination? Learn more the Responsible Supply Chain Advisory Business from Cargill and PwC. Whether you need to bring in outside voices to drive alignment within your own team or whether you need to make a business case to reduce costs, the advisory team can help you understand how to uncover value by identifying and prioritizing opportunities.