France's "Horsegate" Scandal: Marketing Communications Addressing the Aftermath of a Food Fraud/Product Recall
This case describes a major food fraud scandal that resulted in a much-publicized product recall. The episode was dubbed "Horsegate" by the national and international press. In early 2013, a scandal broke out in Ireland and the UK when horsemeat was found in frozen prepared meals sold as containing 100% beef. Findus Nordic, the company involved in the scandal, sold the same products in France. The press launched an investigation, and there were numerous media reports. A French company, Picard Surgel s, was found to have two products tainted with horsemeat. Both companies had to recall their products. Politicians got involved and carefully followed the crisis. Organizations in the supply chain implicated in the scandal struggled to defend themselves and blamed each other. French consumers reacted, and sales of frozen meat products dropped sharply. Findus Nordic and Picard Surgel s's brands were the most heavily impacted in France. This case focuses on Picard Surgel s, an integrated food processor that sells its store brand (private label) products in a company-owned chain of retail stores. The company needs help, and brand managers and marketing communications specialists must assess the situation and make recommendations to address the aftermath of the food fraud/product recall.