Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce is to launch an advertising campaign to reassure consumers that the brand has not been contaminated by cancer-causing food dye Sudan 1. The HP Foods-owned brand has been forced into action following an assumption among consumers that all Worcester sauce products, rather than just Premier Foods-owned brand Crosse & Blackwell, have been contaminated.
Senior staff were in a meeting late yesterday (Tuesday) to discuss how to handle the situation after electronic point-of-sale (EPOS) data from retailers showed that the scare had dented sales since the news broke on February 18.
The brand is considering using a range of in-store marketing, including shelf barkers and press advertising, to tell consumers that Lea & Perrins is safe to eat.
HP Foods spokesman Andy Taylor says that it is too early to comment on sales data but adds that the company is concerned about the EPOS data from retailers. He says that Lea & Perrins has also received more than 3,500 calls to its careline and adds that the brand is keen to raise awareness of the fact that Lea & Perrins is safe to consume and is “actively considering its options”.
The news comes as British Retail Consortium director- general Kevin Hawkins advised consumers to shop at major supermarkets and to buy own-label products as the retailers had reacted to the crisis more quickly and effectively than the branded manufacturers.