New Jersey Food Council Launches ‘Mission Critical’ Response
On Apr 16, 2020
The New Jersey Food Council (NJFC) is taking the statewide lead in ensuring that the state’s grocery and food retail stores remain a critical lifeline for both employees and shoppers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This statewide communication blitz is providing much needed information and resources to New Jersey shoppers and the food industry workforce, ensuring all are equipped to navigate through the grocery experience under government mandates during this global emergency.
“The sudden outbreak and dramatic impact of the coronavirus created panic, empty store shelves and uncertainty amongst shoppers and grocery workers. We realized there was no playbook so it was necessary to work closely with our government partners, rally behind the challenges of the food industry, inform the public and support our workforce,” said Linda Doherty, president & CEO, NJFC.
The result has been a series of communication initiatives over the course of the last several weeks to raise awareness and to ensure shoppers understand the new temporary requirements when they visit their local grocery store and interact with store employees, who New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy describes as “mission critical.”
The development and widespread distribution of 10 Safe Shopping Tips, which have been published in mainstream and trade media, as well as promoted on social media channels for NJFC, its members, its vendors and its supporters.
These tips, available at njfoodcouncil.com, include the latest government mandates, as well as best practices. Shoppers and food workers are required to wear facial coverings. The NJFC urges customers to shop alone to reduce crowds and to practice social distancing. Other key tips for shoppers: Use your eyes to inspect items, not your hands. Also, discard gloves, wipes and masks in the trash.
Promotion of the #ClothCoverChallenge. After the State of New Jersey mandated that all New Jersey customers and employees must wear a cloth face covering, NJFC took to Twitter to engage customers to create their own cloth covering, with a little bit of fun, participating in the #ClothCoverChallenge on social media.
NJFC has launched a statewide public service announcement, which is now being broadcast on most New Jersey airwaves, from statewide broadcast news to local stations. The 30-second spots, in partnership with the New Jersey Broadcasters Association, explains ways in which shoppers and employees can remain safe, as they follow the new government mandates.
NJFC is working to connect people with jobs. In partnership with the Office of the Governor, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and the New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association, the NJFC developed programs and resources including a Jobs & Hiring Portal for hospitality talent and others out of work to apply for jobs and to promote job openings in food stores during this crisis.
Placement of opinion-editorials in New Jersey media, underscoring the importance of shopper and worker safety, as well as the need to keep single-use plastic bags in stores and discourage reusable bags as a temporary way in which to keep employees safe.
Placed a statewide banner ad on the TAPInto news network, comprising hyperlocal news websites in 75 New Jersey municipalities, generating more than 1 million readers a month. The ad, with a hyperlink to the New Jersey Food Council, urges shoppers to property discard of PPE.
Distributed on social media a special message from The governor produced a video to express his appreciation to grocery store workers who he considers “a vital part of our front-line emergency response team and mission critical” to feeding 9 million New Jersey residents.
“We are thankful to Governor Murphy for acknowledging the vital role of grocery workers who are on the front line and the center of our statewide communication campaign,” Doherty said. “It is so critical at this moment for our dedicated workforce to know they are appreciated for their tireless efforts to keep this lifeline open for New Jersey residents.”