CAMPAIGNS: Hygienic food for thought - Public Awareness

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.

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.



Objectives



To convey this year’s message, which was the importance of food

temperature.



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.



Tactics



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

curriculum.



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.



Results



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

kitchens.



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

campaign.



Verdict



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



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