Today’s Summit F&B Listening Report:
Top News/F&B Headlines:
- New York, the hardest hit state in America, reported its most virus-related deaths in a single day today, announcing that another 779 people had died.
- Democratic leaders announced today that they wanted another $250 billion for hospitals, states and food aid. They proposed reserving half of the loan program for businesses owned by farmers, women, people of color and veterans. The counterproposal threatened to slow down the emergency aid for distressed businesses, which Senate Republicans had hoped to speed through as early as Thursday during a procedural session without the entire chamber present.
- Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, made an impassioned plea for global solidarity today, warning that politicizing the coronavirus pandemic was “playing with fire” and that disunity and finger-pointing would result in “many more body bags.”
- Stocks in the U.S. climbed on Wednesday, as investors weighed data showing the extent of the economic damage wrought by the coronavirus pandemic against signs of progress in the effort to contain it.
- Panera Bread is selling groceries as restaurant sales plummet. Panera CEO Niren Chaudhary said the chain lost half its business once its dining rooms closed and is now selling breads, bagels, milk, yogurt, cream cheese and fresh produce directly to customers.
- Tyson Foods is using walk-through infrared body temperature scanners at three processing plants in an effort to keep coronavirus out of its sites and maintain the stability of U.S. food supply.
- Restaurants are turning to adding toilet paper, gloves, and other in-demand products to takeout and delivery orders to reach out to their communities even as the future of their businesses is unclear. Stockpiling left some shoppers unable to find goods like toilet paper and cleaning supplies, but restaurants have different supply chains. Overall, the feedback has been positive and marketing experts say consumers will remember these services once the outbreak ends.
While there is no current threat to food supplies, political leaders continue to urge consumers to stop panic purchasing supplies in order to lessen the strain on supply chain. Looking to future months, concern continues to rise as ports see stricter guidelines or the prohibition of a crew change, when delivering supplies. The possibility of food inflation around milk, eggs, meat and fish continues to be a hot topic of conversation.
Consumer Search Behavior:
Users took to Twitter to address Snapchat issues they were experiencing, like disappearing messages, inability to log in, etc., causing #snapchatdown to trend on Wednesday morning. Also, Passover is a hot topic as discussion begins on how this year’s holiday will differ vastly from previous years.
F&B-specific – Imperfect Foods, a grocery delivery service dedicated to eliminating food waste, saw a major uptick in searches as consumers look to other places for delivery. Also, remaining as a search topic, is the amount of searches for nearby food.
Heroes– who’s making the news for doing the right thing:
- Danone has guaranteed its 100,000 employee’s contracts and income until June 30th, has confirmed all of their employees will have COVID-19 health coverage. The company is giving bonuses for employees who must work onsite.
- American Express, Morgan Stanley, and Paypal have individually stated they plan to avoid any job cuts or furloughs in 2020 and will find other ways to ride out the impacts of COVID-19.
- Allstate is refunding over $600 million to customers who are stuck at home because of COVID-19.
- Cisco is pledging $225 million to assist with the global response to COVID-19.
- Facebook is giving all of its employees a $1,000 bonus to deal with COVID-19 fallout. Additionally, the company is giving away $100 million in grants and ads to 30,000 small businesses to help during this time. As of March 30th, the company has also announced it will be providing an additional $100 million to support local news outlets. Additionally, on April 6th the company announced it is working on tools to help researchers track if social-distancing is working.
Coca-Cola made a major announcement today, revealing that their social platforms would no longer be a place to promote its products, events, and other company-related endeavors. Instead, Coca-Cola has come up with a solution to fill the void.
The beverage giant has turned over its channels—Twitter, Facebook and Instagram—to outside organizations including the American Red Cross, Boys & Girls Club, Feeding America, Salvation Army. The channels “have large audiences and we felt the Coca-Cola brand could use its reach to help and support communities and organizations,” a spokeswoman said.
By Coca-Cola loaning out their social platforms – and mass following – it is allowing non-profits an opportunity and voice they normally wouldn’t have access to. A strategy like this makes a HUGE statement, when we’re seeing a lot of companies respond in a self-promotion manner. While a decision like this would not have the same impact for a smaller company, it sends an important message to other brands who are fine-tuning their messaging at this time. Consumers don’t want to hear about your product, they want to see you putting the public first. For many, shifting to cause-based or mission-based marketing is a sure fire way to appeal to your target audience, while demonstrating your brand’s values.