Shoppers lose tolerance for product recalls
Consumers are becoming less tolerant of product recalls, according to a new study released by consulting company Deloitte. More than half of respondents reported changing their buying habits after hearing about product safety and/or quality problems, turning away from such products for more than nine months, on average, and increasing the chances that they would quit buying the product or brand altogether. Changes in buying habits were most common in fresh and packaged food and beverages. More than half of the respondents said they were more concerned about fresh-food safety than they were a year ago.
Suck it up
Probiotic straws may be poised to blow profitable bubbles into the functional beverage market. The straws provide a clinical dose of bugs to a beverage at the point of consumption, and in theory, preserve the integrity of dormant bacterial strains that are activated only when liquid hits the straw. Swedish probiotics supplier BioGaia has been developing straws for several years. Progress was slow until the third quarter of this year, when operating profits surged 557 percent after a deal with Nestlé to use the straws with a U.S. product called Boost Kid Essentials. The company will also provide straws with the Lactobacillus reuteri probiotic strain for a new line of Nestlé infant products slated to hit global markets next year. Benefits of the straws also include dose accuracy and extended shelf life.
In case of emergency...
The National Retail Federation’s loss-prevention team partnered with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the International Council of Shopping Centers to create guidelines for responding to life-threatening events such as active shooters in retail stores and malls. Motivated by tragedies such as the December 2007 shooting in an Omaha, Neb., mall where nine people were killed and four were wounded, the NRF, DHS and ICSC developed protocols for retailers to respond to and recover from such events. Because these events are often over within 10 to 15 minutes, it is difficult for law enforcement authorities to step in before at least some casualties occur. Recommendations include coordinating escape plans with employees and providing local police with master keys in order to assure quick emergency access to retail areas. The full guidelines are available at www.nrf.com.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIX/number 12/p. 6