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Pastry Treats and Brand Defeats - Protecting Consumers and Brand Image

Paul Woodward
Senior Director, Retail Supply Chain Business

That infectious aroma that you can taste and the glorious arrangement of mouth-watering products displayed across a layered bed of temptation that a deli or bakery counter offers. We love them, they attract us, intrigue us and pull us into a state of mind that ignores sensibility of cost, volume and need.

As we select our chosen delights and add the non-essential, but irresistible delicatessens we fail to consider the quality and safety of these items, we simply choose taste or visual appeal over risk. But we would instantly stop ourselves from buying any unlabelled pre-packaged ready meal, regardless of how tasty the product looked. We have been conditioned to inspect the packaging, but when there isn't a package we simply enjoy the item, and go with the mindset that it's freshly made so it must be better.

Consumers Own the Risk

The law has for many years required retailers, restaurants and food counters to display allergen disclaimers nearby. As consumers we are aware but rarely refer to disclaimers, especially if we have no known allergies, as we delve into the flavours before us. The risk is owned by us, the consumer, if we have allergies, the emphasis is on us to check, confirm and then enjoy our selection. But when it goes wrong, in the eyes of the media and our families it’s the brand at fault for not protecting the consumer, although legally they hold no liability. 

In some countries like England and Northern Ireland, additional laws are being created. The BBC just announced that a new law protecting allergy sufferers will be introduced in the summer of 2021. This comes after the heart-breaking allergic reaction that caused the death of teenager Natasha Ednan-Laperouse. Under "Natasha's law", food businesses will have to include full ingredients labelling on all pre-packaged food.

Retailers recognise although the laws protect them, it doesn’t protect their brand image and equity. So what else can retailers do?

How Retailers Protect Consumers and Their Brand

Some retailers are investing in technology and solutions to provide consumers with digital labelling to support food counter delights. Detailed information on the recipes, ingredients, origin, dietary claims and safety warnings can now be accessed by stores to print or digitally display through info points and registers. Ensuring this data is accurate, consistent and up-to-date is managed through retailers' brand management solutions like Oracle Retail Brand Compliance Cloud Service. This solution enables retailers and their supply chains to collaboratively capture, validate and analyse product and supply chain data to ensure ethical, safety, quality and brand standard conformance.

So we can now enjoy our tasty treat with confidence knowing it is wrapped in a virtual label.

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