According to the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), 23 million work
days are lost through food poisoning each year. The sixth National Food
Safety Week aimed to raise public awareness over the importance of food
safety and hygiene in order to lower such statistics.
To convey this year’s message, which was the importance of food
Much of the campaign was aimed at education in a bid to avoid children
developing poor habits. The campaign also aimed to hit home the shocking
statistics of food poisoning in the UK and increase public awareness of
unhygienic food practices.
The launch took place in London’s Covent Garden with Government food
safety minister Jeff Rooker and TV chef Antony Worrall-Thomson. Both
national and regional press broadcasters attended.
Media controversy over whether or not it was the Government’s place to
be telling the public when to wash its hands and press coverage of
Prince Charles’ views on genetically modified food, helped raise the
profile of the campaign.
The maintenance of the campaign needed perfect timing, according to FDF
media relations manager Jackie Dowthwaite. She said: ’The whole week was
incredibly hectic. Timing is vital, you have to make sure you catch the
issue while it is still hot.’
FDF staged 500 events nationwide, ranging from hand washing
demonstrations in schools, to barbecue competitions in shopping centres.
The ’calamity kitchen’ - a roving example of how not to keep your
kitchen - also toured the country. The campaign was adapted to
complement the food technology course on the national schools
Press release dates for the events ranged from three weeks before for
regional press, to just days for the national press. Women’s titles were
also targeted early. Good Health magazine’s September issue is carrying
the remaining booklets on Food Safety Week as a cover mount.
Events were picked up by over 250 regional publications, around 40
magazines, 11 national newspapers, 10 television programmes and almost
50 radio stations.
Regional papers picked up on the competition ideas and prizes offered by
FDF last year, and they also took off during this year’s campaign.
The National Food Safety Week was featured on every breakfast television
news programme on the morning of the launch. GMTV and Channel 5 did live
broadcasts from the Food and Drink Federation’s (FDF) staff
Several daytime shows and evening bulletins also carried the story.
Although the coverage was widespread, communication of the main message
of keeping food at the correct temperature was covered in only 30 per
cent of media coverage. Fifty-five per cent mentioned one of the other
statistics provided by FDF. Forty-six per cent covered one of the
activities that was staged by the company, and 33 per cent included a
visual from the press packs.
Around pounds 2,000 was spent on research and evaluation of the results.
The benefits of this procedure were realised after last year’s
The Food and Drinks Federation’s two-strong communications team
succeeded in securing the attention of the national and regional media.
The whole project was further highlighted by ’food scare’ stories in the
media, which no doubt increased its shelf-life. In short, the project
was successful, despite the low pick-up of the main message.
Client: The Food and Drink Federation
PR Team: The Food and Drink Federation communications team
Campaign: National Food Safety Week
Timescale: 8-14 June 1998
Budget: pounds 200,000