The Brand Move Roundup – April 24, 2020

We’re tracking the notable brand moves & highlighting the companies who are tackling this challenge successfully.

We started this series of brand updates on March 12, but the reaction has been so positive, and the crisis so fast-moving, that we’re going to move to a continuously updated rolling news format from now until it’s all over (hopefully soon). Keep checking back here for the latest updates on how brands are dealing with coronavirus.

In a COVID-19 development very few people could have predicted, Lysol and Dettol maker Reckitt Benckiser Plc has stated that “under no circumstance” should its disinfectant products be administered into the human body, through injection, ingestion or any other route. The company issued the advice after being asked whether internal administration of disinfectants “may be appropriate for investigation or use as a treatment for coronavirus”, amid recent speculation and social media activity after U.S. President Donald Trump mentioned the potential use of disinfectant for the coronavirus.

Business communication platform Slack is offering free plans, specifically for nonprofits and businesses providing crisis relief during the pandemic. The company is offering free access to its paid plan for three months; companies can apply on the brand’s website. Approved companies already using Slack can upgrade to a standard or plus plan for free for three months. The brand is also offering free consultations on how to use the platform remotely.

Grocer Publix has pledged to purchase produce and dairy directly from farmers and donate it to Feeding America food banks. According to Feeding America, farmers who normally sell their goods to restaurants, schools and hotels are being left without buyers, meaning they are dealing with a huge glut of inventory. In many cases, farmers have no choice but to dump huge amounts of dairy and produce. Research by Feeding America also shows food banks are struggling amid the pandemic. Their regular stream of donations has dried up at a time when an estimated 17.1 million additional people will experience food insecurity due to school closures and rising unemployment. Publix delivered its first shipment of donations to Feeding South Florida in Miami, Feeding Tampa Bay and Feeding Northeast Florida, officials said in a news release. The program will continue for the next several weeks and deliver much-needed food to other food banks across the Southeast. More than 150,000 pounds of produce, 43,500 gallons of milk is set to be donated to Feeding America food banks during the first week of the initiative. “As a food retailer, we have the unique opportunity to bridge the gap between the needs of families and farmers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Publix CEO Todd Jones. “In this time of uncertainty, we are grateful to be able to help Florida’s produce farmers, southeastern dairies and families in our communities.”

Belgian potato industry body Belgapom is calling on the population to make up for the recent shortfall in consumption by eating frites (fries or, for the English, chips) twice a week at home instead of once. Home is the most important place for consumption of potatoes in general, according to market research carried out for the Flemish agricultural marketing agency VLAM. The exception being for frites, which are mainly consumed in restaurants or bought to take away from snack bars. Snack bars selling takeaway have been allowed to stay open during the confinement, however sales are down even there too. However, Belgapom has announced it will supply 25 tonnes of potatoes every week to food banks, at least until the end of May. As potato farmers face surplus stocks, so food banks are facing shortages and growing demand for their services. “In this way, part of the potato stock will still be used and we can avoid seeing excellent food, for which our farmers have worked so hard, being lost,” said Flemish agriculture minister Hilde Crevits.

Dole Food Co. has donated 2.2 million pounds of fresh produce during the COVID-19 pandemic to those in need through U.S. food banks and communities in Latin America.

Other U.S. donations went to organizations in New York, Philadelphia, Houston, Los Angeles and Charlotte. The company has joined Pro*Act and other companies in giving health care workers produce, including through the Produce Alliance Foundation’s Feeding our Frontlines program. In Latin American communities, Dole is distributing food staples, test kits, masks, sanitizers and related supplies. The Dole Foundation is educating workers, advancing purchases of medication and providing services at its health clinics. “The virus is ruthless, and we have seen the brutal impact it has had on people — directly to their health and their income,” CEO Johan Linden said.

San Francisco-based Imperfect Foods, which delivers off-size/misshapen/surplus fresh produce from growers, and surplus shelf-stable items that retailers don’t want, to consumers has stepped up to tackle the effects of the crisis – for example, redistributing broccoli florets grown for restaurants and popcorn destined for movie theaters. “Since large food suppliers have been unexpectedly left with excess supply due to the closure of the restaurant, hospitality and travel industries, we’ve stepped in to redirect some of these items to our customers,” CEO Philip Behn said. “From offering new stir fry mixes created from excess cauliflower previously meant for restaurants to bags of ‘pizza cut’ broccoli florets, our model allows us to be nimble and support new partners in finding a home for their products while ensuring continuous supply for our customer’s weekly boxes,” he said.

IKEA U.S. is donating $1.6 million in supplies and products toward relief efforts for people heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. donation is part of the Swedish corporation’s more-than $28 million grant of in-kind global donations. The $1.6 million donation includes $900,000 in products and supplies such as blankets, bedding and storage solutions for health departments heavily impacted by the virus in California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington. “At IKEA, we are guided by a simple, yet powerful vision of creating a better everyday life for the many people,” IKEA Retail U.S. President Javier Quiñones said in a statement. “No matter how challenging times are, we are always committed to being a good neighbor and demonstrating commitment to local communities.”

For creative Mac users, Apple has temporarily extended free trials of creative apps. The tech company is offering 90-day trials of video editing software Final Cut Pro X and audio editing software Logic Pro X, normally free for 30 days.