The Budweiser brand, a.k.a. Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (ABI), the world’s largest brewer, was recently sued by consumers in three U.S. states for allegedly overstating the alcohol content in it’s beer. While the facts of the case and the basis of the lawsuit is unraveled, the negative publicity generated by this news will have lasting repercussions in the courts of public opinion. Whether or not the allegations hold any water (no pun), the situation becomes a public relations nightmare for the power brokers in the Budweiser family. It brings out the idea that not all is sacred and anything out there is subject to scrutiny and second guessing. Stories can run viral via Twitter, and other social media, like a wildfire. For the Budweiser brand, the damage is done and can only get worse.
So what to do? The integrity of all companies, which provide their products for sale in grocery stores across the country, is what is at stake. We, as consumers, expect more from the largest companies but expect even the smallest ones to police themselves and maintain a standard in each product they offer. The Food and Drug Administration (or FDA) is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. They promote and protect human health issues in relation to food safety and would not be involved in this process. There isn’t room in Obama’s fiscal plans (or lack thereof ) for such a lofty expenditure. So, who then?
Pompeian, the first olive oil to carry both the USDA Quality Monitored Seal and the North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA) Seal, is committed to maintaining the highest level of product quality and adheres to the most stringent standards in their industry. Recent news stories brought to light allegations of some olive oil companies substituting lesser quality oil into their prime oil products. It is almost the same kind of allegations which Budweiser is facing, Pompeian is in a proactive position and has someone in their corner. An outside entity to vouch for them even though they haven’t been accused of any wrong doing. They are a great example of a company with integrity. To be unmurked and unclouded in this day and age is vital and the key to longevity.
There was an episode of “Seinfeld” in which Jerry and Elaine thought they were eating non-fat yogurt. It was funny then but imagine that scenario in 2013? Times have definately changed since then and we now expect full disclosure in this (and everything). Companies who are forthright will continue to thrive, earn our respect, and continue to earn our business.