While ALDI is busy expanding its stores in the United States, frozen food retailer and competitor Cook revealed a 7 percent jump in ready-made frozen meal products. Sales soared after Aldi UK beef products were found to contain 30-100% horsemeat.
According to an article published Monday by Retail Week:
Chief executive Edward Perry said Cook was benefiting from “growing consumer distrust of ‘big business’” as well as increasing demand for “nutritious and high quality convenience food” and the “ongoing cash-rich, time-poor context of our core audience”.
The core element of Cook’s offer is its frozen ready meals. Similar products sold by major grocers including Tesco, Aldi, Asda and Lidl were found to contain horsemeat earlier this year.
In February 2013, ALDI became the latest supermarket in the United Kingdom to withdraw beef products that contained high levels of horsemeat. ALDI is not the only retailer in the United Kingdom to be affected by the scandal; and other brands such as Nestle and Bird's Eye were pulled from UK grocer's shelves. However, no reports of other U.S.top 25 food retailers impacted overseas were found.
The UK Food Standards Agency was suppose to have met with the environment secretary last week to discuss the horsemeat scandal. There have been no recent reports about this talk.
What about beef products in ALDI US? A representative for ALDI US claims consumers might be "concerned for no reason" and requested to have a previous article retracted.
Through an email correspondence, the ALDI communications consultant said:
I believe that the information upon which your story is based is from a February 9, 2013, article that ran in the UK newspaper, the Guardian. I would like to talk to you about your story and the potential for you to either take it down altogether or at least update it with the proper context. We believe that consumers who rely on The Examiner for their information will be confused and concerned about the quality of their meat products bought from ALDI in the US…and they will be concerned for no reason.
NBC News Report said about the Department of Agriculture meat inspections that "agency officials also acknowledge privately that species testing for meat imported into the U.S. is performed typically only when there’s a reason to question a shipment."
It should also be noted that the United States Congress banned horse slaughtering in America in 2006, but the ban has been expired since 2011. Recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved a horse slaughter facility in New Mexico and a second one in Iowa.
"Are ALDI food suppliers reliable? Recalls beef products" was not removed, but ALDI representatives were informed that a statement would be published immediately if one was provided.
Thank you for contacting me regarding the ALDI story published on September 7, 2013.
It has been advised that I not take the story down. I reported the facts based off already published articles from reputable news sources which have been cited in my article. Additionally, there was no information of any massive recall on Aldi corporate website and no public awareness in the American media outlets. For such a huge issue, I felt this was newsworthy for my American audience--especially since Aldi is considered a top 25 U.S. food retailer.
I also wanted to inform you that the Guardian article keeps coming up in Google news search dated as September 4 (please see attached document).
Now, as a fellow public relations professional, I most certainly understand your point of view and the intent behind your request to take down or change any parts of my article. What I am willing to do is publish any statement on behalf of your client.
Please let me know if a statement can be made available for immediate publication.
To date, ALDI food company has not provided a statement regarding how the horse meat scandal affects or has affected its meat products in the US. Additionally, The Guardian reported that ALDI issued a statement to the media in the UK, but the press release could not be found on any of its corporate websites; and, product recalls were not announced on any of the company's international websites including the Unites States corporate site.
There are more than 1,100 ALDI stores in 31 states serving 20 million customers each month according to its website. Only one ALDI store resides in the District of Columbia; but, its sister company--Trader Joe's--has grown very popular throughout the Washington Metropolitan region. ALDI typically places its store in suburban, rural, and/or low-income regions of the United States. Both stores offer signature grocery food and general merchandise at very low prices.
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