WASHINGTON -- Top executives at two supermarket industry trade associations told SN last week that Food Lion should be commended for its willingness to defend itself.
Nov. 5, 1992.
Tim Hammonds, president of the Food Marketing Institute here, praised Food Lion for what he called "a courageous act; anytime you take on your critics, it requires courage. "Very often, people feel that when there's a negative story, the best thing to do is be quiet and hope it goes away. But with a clear violation of moral and ethical standards, as there was in this instance, Food Lion took the right action."
Hammonds told SN the verdict in favor of Food Lion "is really going to benefit the entire industry, and we were happy to see that it was a jury reminding the broadcast media that it too has ethical standards of conduct it must follow."
Thomas K. Zaucha, president of the National Grocers Association, Reston, Va., said, "In defending its own legal rights, Food Lion's action also serves the interests of the industry as well.
"The supermarket industry is vulnerable to negative news stories that are misleading, exaggerated or fraudulently created. This is especially true of independent operators who have limited resources to defend themselves and set the record straight when they become the targets of unethical journalists."
Zaucha noted that the NGA had filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief early in the proceedings that argued against a motion by ABC for summary judgment in the case. The brief was filed, he said, "because supermarket companies large and small work hard to earn the trust and loyalty of their customers, and negative news accounts can destroy hard-earned consumer confidence and lead to a serious loss of business."