Improving Food Safety is Good for Business' Bottom Line
Anyone who ever owned and operated a business knows that allocating a budget is a rigorous exercise, and every alternative benefit and cost needs to be carefully considered. Adding funds to one operational area always means taking them from another. And, if some cost can be sacrificed with relatively little pain, a company will likely do it.
That’s why businesses in lower income countries often consider investing into food safety as a luxury only big exporters can afford. Indeed, whereas many of the 270 FDA and USDA food recalls that happened in the United States last year tend to make newsworthy headlines, consumers in emerging economies are often made less aware of what new contamination they need to monitor.
However, as this article will demonstrate, investing in food safety is good for business, including in lower-income countries. Indeed, even companies that sell to lower-paying domestic consumers are now paying attention.
Let us consider both the positive effects of food safety culture and the challenges of not having a robust food safety culture to small- and medium-sized food enterprises in emerging economies.
Challenges of not implementing food safety measures. Let’s first consider some possible consequences for businesses that do not implement food safety controls, consistent with international and local standards.
Reputational damage, even among poor consumers. Once the consumer understands that foods can improve or damage their health depending from whom they buy these foods, they will continue to be more selective in their purchases. That is, companies who can consistently provide better customer experience will establish their brand, and this reputation will continue to attract customers. The companies that do not do this risk establishing a negative brand, driving away better-paying clients and profits. The long-term consequences of doing business badly can be costly.