In the past year, the rage over trans fats has become white hot. Suddenly - and seemingly all at once - the largest fast-food chains were looking for alternatives. The United Soybean Board (USB) was pushing a soy-based alternative and looked to capitalize on the attention.
The USB brought on Publicis Consultants PR to promote soy-based trans-fat solutions to the food industry. By encouraging the industry to try emerging soy oil trait enhancements when reformulating products, it hoped to get the message about its products out and build enthusiasm for improvements still in the research pipeline. "We saw the trans-fat issue coming," says Steve Poole, USB PR director.
The team approached trade magazines to pitch stories on the soy-based alternatives, promoted them at food industry trade shows, and secured speaking opportunities for USB members at engagements like the American Oilseed Chemists Society. It also maintains the USB's Talksoy.com site, with up-to-date information on the technology. "We're unique in that we don't sell a product; we're communicating a broad array of solutions," says Lisa Kelly, SVP at Publicis Consultants.
The USB met its goal of maintaining 75% edible oil market share last year. Kellogg's agreed to use "low-lin" soy oil to reformulate its products, and Golden Flakes, the largest potato chip manufacturer in the Southeast, confirmed it is working to transition to the oil. "The greatest measure of success is demand outstrips supply," Poole notes.
The team continues to push the low-lin product, as well as newer products coming through the pipeline.
PR team: United Soybean Board (St. Louis) and Publicis Consultants PR (Seattle)
Campaign: Promoting soy-based trans-fat solutions
Duration: September 2006 - ongoing
Budget: $659,000 for 2006