Blue Bell shouldn’t be here. We shouldn’t be clamoring for it at our grocery stores. We shouldn’t be buying it by the case. Stores shouldn’t be limiting the amount you can buy. It just shouldn’t be like this.
I’m not talking about the financials. The Bass family saved Blue Bell financially, and without them, Blue Bell wouldn’t be here. No, I’m talking about Blue Bell as a brand.
Blue Bell’s listeria outbreak was not handled well. Here’s the timeline.
- March 13: Listeria link found in 5 Kansas cases (3 deaths)
- March 13: Blue Bell has a limited product recall and limits production in Brenham
- March 22: Listeria condition linked to Broken Arrow Blue Bell plant
- March 23: second limited recall
- April 7: more Listeria found (10 total cases, 3 deaths) and Blue Bell recalls anything from the Broken Arrow plant
- April 20: Blue Bell recalls all product
It took Blue Bell over a month to recall all of its products, and more people got sick because of it. That’s not how you’re supposed to handle a situation like this. If any other brand had done what you see above, they would’ve been drug through the mud and the muck, and it would have been near impossible for them to come back. Instead, Blue Bell was waited for patiently. We clamored for it. Tweeted about it. Made shirts about it.
Why, when any other brand couldn’t have survived, Blue Bell garnered an even more cult-like following?
It defied all conventional logic, but I have one theory.
Blue Bell is a heritage brand.
You see, for all of us, Blue Bell has really strong fond memories. Summertime outside with your family, coming in from the pool to a bowl of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Maybe for you its Thanksgiving or Christmas, eating some pie or cobbler with a fresh scoop of Homemade Vanilla.
Those memories matter to us. We hold them extremely dear, and when you have a brand that can connect with those deep seeded memories then you can withstand more storms than most.
Blue Bell shouldn’t be where it is, but the heritage of Blue Bell is what has caused to be able to stand this test and possible mishandling of this process.