Promoting European food: EU campaigns around the world adapt to COVID
The COVID-19 pandemic may have disrupted numerous aspects of our daily lives, but it has certainly not affected the EU’s capacity to produce, distribute and export high quality agri-food products. And while gatherings may now be prohibited in many places and most international trade shows cancelled or postponed, the Commission’s campaigns were swiftly adapted.
One example is the EU's More Than Food campaign operating in selected Gulf Cooperation Council countries moved almost entirely online
A networking webinar has been organised, capitalising on growing consumer interest in the region for organic food. The event brought together over 60 business professionals, including EU exporters of certified organic food products and GCC food importers. Partnering up with celebrated food blogger and author Zahra Abdalla and UAE-based e-retailer elGrocer, the campaign also created five delicious recipes. ElGrocer's customers could order specially curated food boxes, containing all the ingredients for each recipe, exclusively of EU origin, to prepare at home accompanied by Zahra's online tutorials.
In order to kick off the new promotion campaign Bocados de Europa in Mexico gourmet food and lifestyle journalists were gathered in a Zoom meeting, instead of in a restaurant. A whole menu of food curated by one of Mexico's most famous chefs, Edgar Núñez, was delivered to each reporter's home right before the 'virtual dinner' started.
Meanwhile in China, the EU's Colours by Europe campaign has seen a gradual return to normal. Since the start of the pandemic, the campaign initially turned to online events, particularly with consumer activations on China's most successful online retail platforms: Chunbo and HEMA. A month of activity with the former resulted in 14.5 million unique visitors, while a partly physical promotion with the latter, across 23 online and 24 offline stores in Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou and Nantou, reached more than 500,000 people. Encouraged by this performance, Colours by Europe launched a restaurant week celebrating European cuisines in China's capital, as well as a Geographical Indications conference and Open Day in Shanghai, which highlighted the signature of the EU-China agreement protecting 100 fine foods and drinks from each party.
In recognition of its continued influence, the EU's China campaign received multiple awards this year, including a Gold Award for 'Best PR Campaign – Food and Beverage'.
Even the more traditional events, such as policy seminars, were transformed in fully digital format organised as part of the Perfect Match campaign in Vietnam.
In short, it is safe to conclude that COVID not only failed to impede the progress of EU promotion policy, but it also helped spark innovative ways to continue reaching target audiences. Similarly resilient activities are currently in preparation for campaigns in Japan, Vietnam and Singapore.
Check the campaigns in the spotlight feature