Nestlé : Recall reaction

The food giant’s online FAQ answers pointed questions as part of a wider campaign to restore consumer confidence in India.

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The feature

Last week India’s food standards watchdog ordered Nestlé to stop selling its popular Maggi instant noodles in the country, citing unsafe levels of lead and misleading labelling on monosodium glutamate. Nestlé denies it has done anything wrong, and has two weeks to make its case to the regulator. But the product remains off the shelves and reputational damage could threaten the rest of Nestlé’s US$632m packaged foods business in India.

Nestlé has set up frequently asked questions (FAQ) section on its corporate site, with prominent signposts linking to it on the home pages of the corporate site, the Nestlé India site and the Maggi brand site.

The takeaway

Nestlé’s Maggi response is a particularly good use of its well established ‘Ask Nestlé’ section on the company’s corporate website. The quick addition of the Maggi FAQ and prominent signposts on the appropriate channels also show that Nestlé is experienced in using online tools for crisis response. The questions in the FAQ are direct, written as if a journalist or concerned consumer might ask them; eg, ‘Why did you take so long to recall the product?’, ‘Why is there any lead at all in Maggi noodles?’, etc.

The answers at times are less direct than the questions, which probably has to do with the company’s difficult balancing act between disputing the government’s findings and yet being seen to be looking out for consumers. Determining the company’s line is not in the remit of digital managers, however, and the web team has done well to create a thorough and well-signposted online resource summarising the company’s views and actions around the recall.
First published 10 June, 2015
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