Sir: A year on from Horsegate, how well have supermarkets responded? There is no doubt they have made significant changes to supply chain practices. And the initial response was firm, clear and honest. What is lacking is a long-term change in customer engagement and communication, learning from the crisis in ways that could benefit both sides.
The most important of those long-term changes is about greater transparency. How much information is now available to consumers about the provenance of meat products? What kind of reassurances are there about horsemeat? The answer is that you really have to look hard for it. Try searching the websites of leading brands at the centre of the crisis. One would be forgiven for thinking the crisis had never happened!
It’s an instinctive reaction to avoid drawing attention to bad PR of this kind. But it leads to the wrong result. Consumers have not forgotten the scandal, which could have been avoided if a more proactive and transparent approach had been taken. Who is brave enough to take up the challenge?
Geoff Beattie, head of global corporate affairs, Cohn & Wolfe
Read the response: Industry-wide approach needed after Horsegate