Social media played a significant role in the news earlier this year about the use of lean finely textured beef (LFTB) in U.S. beef processing. Rabobank asked its Forum attendees if the rise of social media is causing them to adopt a different approach in their business. More than half of executives (51%) said that the growing influence of social media is changing the way they handle brand and reputation management and business communications. Nine percent said it is driving changes in the way they handle vendor/customer/supply chain management. However, 37% said they are not making business changes in response to the increasing prominence of social media.

 “Social media has introduced a new and widely accessible communications platform to the media mix, and this has created both opportunities and risks for companies in the food industry. For some parts of the industry, ‘business as usual’ may not work any longer as social media exercises its potential to be a catalyst for change. However, the social media phenomenon also offers the industry an opportunity to engage in direct discussions with consumers and other stakeholders, to address concerns, to educate, and to clarify fact from rumor or misinformation. One thing is certain, social media is changing the food business in North America.”