Corporate social responsibility has transitioned from a “nice to have” to a consumer expectation. Consumers seek products that will not only benefit their physical wellness but prefer to engage with companies that are making a positive social impact. Read on to find out how social responsibility and cause marketing are playing out with food and beverage brands now.
Awareness & Education
Brands are utilizing many different strategies including limited-time product offers, education programs and social media to raise awareness for the organizations they support. Cape Cod Potato Chips released its second annual limited-edition Pink Himalayan Salt & Red Wine Vinegar Potato Chips for Breast Cancer Awareness Month this past October, while Astor Chocolate donated its net proceeds from their Pink Line to the October Woman Foundation on Breast Awareness to support ongoing research programs. Whole Foods created the Whole Kids Foundation focuses on helping communities and spreading awareness about nutrition and healthy foods. Earlier this year, Guinness donated proceeds from its social media campaign where people were asked to post pictures with a mustache to #StacheforCharity. $100,000 was given to the Guinness Gives Back Fund which supports many charities including Team Rubicon, a veteran-led disaster response organization.
Many brands are supporting philanthropic projects, whether it’s in their immediate community or where a more focused need arises. In February 2019, Clif Bar & Company launched its CLIF Second Responder Fund to assist with disaster recovery to support community restoration long after rescue crews have completed their work and media outlets have moved on. In March 2019, Tyson Foods gave $1.8 million toward hunger relief efforts in 14 states across the United States. Chobani paid off $85,000 in school lunch debt for the Twin Falls School District, which is located near the company’s newest yogurt plant. That gift allows the school to continue serving 5,600 lunches and 2,100 breakfasts daily and frees up more of its budget for educational use. Just this October, Kellogg’s partnered with online retailer Boxed and United Way of the Midlands to help local families still struggling in the aftermath of this spring’s devastating flooding in Nebraska and Iowa.
Sustainability and Food Safety
Consumers want their products to benefit themselves as well as the planet. General Mills most recent global responsibility initiatives have targeted global food safety, community safety, and clean water initiatives. The company has dedicated an entire foundation towards working on agriculture and natural resources. Lipton is committed to sourcing 100% sustainable tea by 2020 and is working to make all its tea Rainforest Alliance Certified, which helps protect the land, water, and people in tea-growing areas. Coca Cola has taken a strong role towards protecting the environment. The Coca Cola Foundation has also set up multiple grant programs that focus on healthy living, education, recycling and disaster relief. In July 2019, Dunkin’ Brands released has published its Sustainability Report, providing a thorough overview of its sustainability progress and the ongoing commitment of its brands and its franchisees to create a positive impact for both customers and communities throughout the world.
As we head into 2020, more consumers will want to see social responsibility incorporated into business strategy. Corporations that support philanthropic efforts can forge connections with cause-conscious consumers, while also boosting employee engagement and job satisfaction.
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