Despite the recent media storm 8 out of 10 British mums say the sugar in foods debate has not influenced their buying habits.
Hysterical headlines such as “Sugar, not fat, is real heart disease killer” and “The Sugar-Slashers are on the warpath” may have dominated the column inches, but mums know best and there is no sign of them turning it into a crisis for the food industry.
In a poll that we conducted with BritMums, Britain’s biggest collective of lifestyle bloggers and social influencers, 84.5%, of those who took part, said that their buying habits were staying the same.
Of those who did admit to being swayed by the media, most (12.2%) said that they would now be buying less fruit juice for their children. Juices and fizzy drinks are amongst the products highlighted most often for containing too much sugar.
The debate around the levels of sugar in food has overtaken discussions on salt and saturated fat, when it comes to media coverage.
The glossy Sundays have produced pull-out guides, there have been TV documentaries and the chatter on social media is growing. It’s enough to get the pulses racing and to push up the blood pressure levels of the bosses of our major food and drink manufacturers.
But it appears that Britain’s mums are made of sterner stuff, for now at least. It takes time for attitudes to change and remember coverage only reached a peak at the turn of the year. So there is no room for complacency. The ex-journalist in me tells me that this is a story that is going to run and run.
A proactive approach to PR:
There is an opportunity here for those who are bold, to steal a march on the more nervous within the industry.
So, stop being a bystander and start influencing the debate:
Listen to what is being said
Check your facts and stats
Make the most of your experts
Know what you are going to say
Train up your spokespeople
And grab the opportunities that come your way
There are many strong, positive stories to tell. At the moment those stories are struggling to be heard.
Keith Beech is director of Core Management – Crisis, Organisation and Reputation which is part of the Nexus Communications Group