Mars product recall: When your trust is at stake

Product recalls are nothing new and the latest to join the ranks is Mars Inc, one of the largest food manufacturers in the world.

The recall comes after it detected shreds of red plastic in its bars produced in its Netherlands plant - a move which will result in losses running into millions for the company.

What makes the matter worse is that the product from that plant may have been shipped to over 55 countries, globally.

Mars, however, was quick to issue the following statement: “We want to let you know that we’re recalling a limited number of chocolate products made in our Mars Netherlands facility. Recently, a consumer found a small piece of plastic in a SNICKERS bar purchased in Germany.”

“We believe this was an isolated incident, but we’ve made a precautionary decision to voluntarily recall a number of Snickers®, Mars®, Milky Way® and Celebrations®.

It clarified that only products labeled with "Mars Netherlands" are affected.

Moving fast is the surest way to tackle a crisis and when it concerns your product, recall is one of the first things brands resort.

In a previous interview, Lars Voedisch, principal consultant and managing director of PRecious Communications, the mantra in such a crisis situation should be : “Get it fast, get it right, get it out and get it over with.”

That holds true even in this case, and what Mars does now, going forward is what is more important. Most recently, Ikea in Malaysia urged customers who have a HYBY, LOCK or RINNA ceiling lamp to immediately remove it and bring it back to any IKEA stores where they will receive a full refund.

IKEA had received customer reports, globally, of ceiling lamp glass shades falling. In a few cases medical treatment was required, including one from Malaysia.

A statement from Ikea said: "We take product safety very seriously. All our products are tested to and comply with applicable testing standards and legislation. In spite of this we have received reports that LOCK and HYBY ceiling lamps have fallen. In order to safeguard customers and avoid further incidents we are recalling the products for a full refund."

In a 2015 report, PwC highlights the steps to rebuilding trust after a crisis. They are:

  • Be in control of the situation
  • Address the crisis openly & trust your clients
  • Investigate the cause of the crisis
  • Commit to change
  • The Fitbit crisis is a schoolbook example of how to do it right, it said.

When customers complained about irritated skin resulting from the usage of one of Fitbit’s products, the company swiftly reacted by ordering a recall of Fitbit.

"All customers were emailed personally to inform them about the news and told that they could return their Fitbit for a full refund. On top of this, the CEO of Fitbit wrote and published a personal, open letter on the company website to inform and apologise to customers."