There’s a crisis brewing for Progresso, and it’ll be interesting to see how – and if – the soup maker responds.
The trouble was kicked off by a recent NPR report that looked at the potential health risks of eating food stored in cans that uses the industrial chemical bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is an industrial chemical that has been linked to everything from infertility to cancer and cardiovascular disease. Recent research has concluded that canned food is a source of BPA exposure but does not answer the question of whether that exposure is a health risk. Nevertheless, some food makers – including Campbell’s – have already taken the proactive step of announcing that they will eliminate BPA from their containers.
Progresso hasn’t said anything yet. Now a petition on change.org demands that the company remove BPA from the linings of its soup cans. The petition was posted nine days ago and already has 95,000 signatures. It was the subject of a dedicated e-mail from change.org, which no doubt will move that number higher pretty quickly.
Critics are beginning to gather on Progresso’s Facebook page. The Facebook protest started less than a day ago, but some back-and-forth is beginning to develop. So far there’s been no response from Progresso. It’ll be interesting to see if the company learns from past mistakes of brands like Nestle and Chapstick, which inadvertently escalated customer attacks by deleting Facebook comments they didn’t like.
Progresso’s only viable strategy may be to announce that it’s eliminating BPA from its packaging, but that’s a bigger issue than crisis communications. What should Progresso do? It’s still early and they might actually be listening.