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The Perils of Product Recalls and Ways to Prevent Them

Product recalls can have a profound impact on any business. Consumers understand that a recall is serious. When a product recall occurs, a brand is effectively ‘on trial’ for its reputation. If a customer experience reveals a quality or adulteration issue with a product, the entire business can become at risk.

What’s at stake with a product recall? Consider what could occur:

  • Clean-up costs: Depending on the size and severity of the recall, the cost of a recall can quickly add up. This includes the cost of notifying consumers, pulling products from shelves, and destroying or disposing of recalled products. In addition, there may be legal fees and fines to consider, as well as the cost of implementing new quality control measures to prevent future recalls.
  • Lost revenue: Not only will a company lose sales during the recall period, but it may result in a permanent loss of customers. This can result in a long-term decrease in revenue that can be difficult to overcome. In some cases, the financial impact of a recall can be so significant that it leads to bankruptcy.
  • Uncontrollable negative attention: In today’s age of social media and instant news, a product recall can quickly become a public relations nightmare. It only takes a few angry customers posting on social media to create a frenzy of negative attention. This can lead to a loss of consumer trust in a brand, which is extremely difficult to regain. Once a reputation has been tarnished, it can take years to rebuild it. And, in some cases, brands may never recover.
  • Loss of customer trust: This loss of trust can also result in a further decrease in sales. Studies have shown that even after a recall has been resolved, sales may take years to recover, if they ever do.

These approaches can help minimize recalls and their impacts:

  • Prioritize quality control measures and regular testing and monitoring of all products: create routines that are never compromised and built into the cost of goods.
  • Develop a crisis management plan that has detailed steps to follow in case of a recall: Train staff on this protocol including the importance of maintaining clear communication channels with suppliers and customers.
  • Test new ingredient sources independently: All ingredients that are incorporated into a formula need to be authenticated independently. New ingredient supplies need to be tested independently to assure they are authentic and safe. Untargeted testing, such as Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) is ideal to manage new ingredient sources.

NMR is a non-targeted analytical technique used to examine the chemical composition of a sample. It can provide a great deal of information such as:

  • A comprehensive picture of the metabolomic profile of a product versus targeted methods that focus only on specific, pre-defined targets
  • Detailed information about the chemical composition of a product
  • the Quantification of compounds present in a sample
  • The presence of contaminants or adulterants

NMR analysis can provide greater insights into product quality at a time when the industry needs it. Want to learn more? Visit Our Science page.

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