Egg Marketers, Get Scrambling

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If the maxim is correct and there is great opportunity in crisis, then America’s tainted egg fiasco presents a heap of opportunity. Brands not moving to take advantage of current events are potentially doing themselves a major disfavor.

Though the salmonella eggs came from just two Iowa farm, they were distributed under a large number of brand names. The recalled egg brands list is dozens of names long. The result is that many consumers don’t feel safe trusting any brand. Cue, opportunity.[more]

To date, over a half a billion eggs have been recalled in the US. Many believe that the crisis will spark the passage of stronger food safety regulations.

In the meantime, two different kinds of egg producers could be capitalizing on the panic by educating consumers desperate for information, and leveraging that desire, to differentiate in consumer minds. These include organic egg brands and pasteurized egg brands.

The only eggs truly free from salmonella are pasteurized eggs. Brands that use the parturition process should be loudly exclaiming the fact.

Davidson’s pasteurized egg brand has a special announcement on its website. The brand has also updated the FAQ section of its site, moving questions about the recent recall to the top. Even more proactively, the brand has made a Google Adword purchase for the searches “pasteurized eggs” and “safe eggs.” The brand Egg Beaters has made similar moves, including a “Safe!” announcement on its website, driven to buy a Google Adword buy.

Hopefully, both brands are also making aggressive moves with press releases to newspapers and media to make sure that the safeness of pasteurized eggs is being included in any conversation about the crisis. While, ideally, the brand would like to have its brand named by news sources, it’s a better bet to get the process included, as a rising tide (of education) lifts all ships.

Organic brands also have a window to boost their profiles. While not inherently more free from salmonella than huge farm brands, organic producers can use the crisis to highlight differentiators such as more humane conditions. Indeed, organic brands are already seeing an increase in business.

“Actually we’ve had more people coming in to by eggs this week, because of the outbreak… on Saturday we probably sold probably 25% more than what we usually do.  So that’s quire a few more people that came down for eggs,” said a spokesperson for the Stop Meat Shop in South Dakota..

While organic brands have the attention of consumers, they should be moving to keep it once the recall is done. Organic producers should be reaching out to media to make themselves available to speak about animal conditions as well as better taste. The latter differentiator offers a platform on which to compete against “safer” pasteurized egg brands. Simply calling the local TV or newspaper is an absolute minimum.

Many egg brands currently face a PR nightmare. Others have been given a brand-building gift; those not actively taking advantage of the climate are squandering a huge opportunity.

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