Regulatory Compliance: from Meh to Marketing

fsma

Food Safety Modernization Act

Since the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law in 2011, the food industry has been faced with the prospect of greatly increased safety and transparency regulations. Today, those changes are still being rolled out—from much more frequent FDA inspections to stricter requirements for produce—and some regulations are still years from being implemented.

That may feel like a burden to many companies, but here at MarketPlace we don’t see it that way. Instead of viewing increased food safety regulations as another time-intensive compliance requirement, we think about them as providing a marketing opportunity.

 

farm-to-table

Transparency

We have already talked a little on this blog about how today’s customers expect transparency. That’s a trend that’s likely to increase in the near term, with increasing consumer savviness and health consciousness; the FDA isn’t the only entity expecting more information about all stages of food production—consumers are, too.

And that means food, beverage, and ingredient companies have a marketing opportunity, the chance to get ahead of the regulations and position themselves with customers as trustworthy, transparent food sources. Before the FDA’s transparency regulations take full force, food companies should be implementing them on their own—and loudly proclaiming that they are doing so.

By complying with regulations in advance, food companies not only get prepared ahead of time and avoid potential fines, they begin to gather the necessary information to be transparent with their customers about their supply chain. Transparency aligns companies favorably with the farm-to-table trend and gives customers assurance that their food is safe and nutritious.

 

ingredients

Implications

Business-to-business companies can benefit from early regulatory compliance just as surely as consumer-facing companies. Since business-to-consumer companies are looking to give their customers more transparency along the entire production cycle, they will be looking for suppliers who can provide detailed information about their ingredients. Ingredient companies therefore have the chance to become premium suppliers for consumer-facing companies looking to offer greater transparency.

More than just a marketing tactic, in the future transparency will need to be at the heart of your brand story, whether you’re a B2B or B2C company. Once FSMA is fully implemented (no later than 2016, according to the current schedule), transparency will no longer be a differentiator—it will be expected of every food company. That being the case, the sooner you can make transparency part of your brand strategy, the better.

At MarketPlace, we have abundant experience helping food and beverage companies tell the story of their products to customers, whether they sell to consumers or other businesses. If you’re planning on early regulatory compliance and need a hand turning it to your marketing advantage, get in touch.

FSMA isn’t the only major shift coming to the food industry: the FDA has also recently proposed the first change to the nutrition label in more than 20 years. Learn more about what the new nutrition label will mean for your business with our post on 3 ways the new label will change food marketing.

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