Food Recall
Recall Scenario—Part I

When Meal Kits Go Bad

The Investment and Successful Launch of “Ready When You Are”

Supermarket A has recently announced the launch of customer meal kits marketed as “Ready When You Are”. Ready When You Are meal kits are available for home delivery or in-store pick up at any of Supermarket A’s 238 stores. Supermarket A’s executive chef, who oversees the ingredients to be included in each day’s kits, also publishes the meal kit menus daily. The kits are produced overnight in Supermarket A’s two distribution centers and delivered in the early morning hours to the retail stores.

Initial Success, A Happy C-Suite

Because of the innovative menus and inexpensive pricing, compared to national competitors’ meal kits, Ready When You Are is an overnight sensation receiving favorable press coverage from the local television and newspaper outlets. The meal kits also generate increased foot traffic as more customers come in to learn from the executive chef, who holds cooking classes on the meal kits’ most popular days, Thursdays and Saturdays. Supermarket A’s executives are thrilled with the success of Ready When You Are as the investment to bring the effort to market significantly affected the recent previous quarters’ revenue statements.

“My Family’s Sick!”

Seven months after launch, many of Supermarket A’s store managers have received numerous complaints from customers of illnesses including diarrhea, fever, abdominal cramps and vomiting. Customers have taken family members to the hospital or to see their family doctor. Two senior centers have claimed multiple illnesses and several hospitalizations of their elderly patrons.

A News Van is Parked Right Outside

As the morning progresses, one of the local television news stations visits Supermarket A’s executive offices with a report that several children under the age of five have been stricken with Salmonella Typhimurium and may be in critical condition. Alerted by multiple reports of illness on the crowdsourcing site, iamsickened.com, the CDC and FDA launch an investigation. Supermarket A’s executive team is feverishly working on responses for the press, customers, suppliers and private equity funds.

The Brand and Financial Impact of a Meal Kit’s Bad Day

Supermarket A’s immediately commences an investigation and discovers that a peanut paste ingredient supplied by Supermarket A’s approved meal kit suppliers, Supplier B, and used in the previous Thursday and Saturday’s menus, was contaminated. Supplier B has advised Supermarket A’s supply chain executives that Supermarket A is not the only affected customer as Supplier B has received complaints nationwide. In response to the crisis, Supermarket A suspends sales of Ready When You Are meal kits for the indefinite future.

To be continued...

Learn how this recall scenario ends.

We'll tell you how to protect your investment, brand, and balance sheet in part II of this scenario.


The events depicted in the above scenario are fictitious. Any similarity to any company, product or person is merely coincidental.