Most of us, I believe, raised an eyebrow when we heard that the Shuanghui Group of China agreed to purchase Smithfield Foods for $4.7 billion.

From a brand perspective, this just does not sit right with me.

Smithfield is the world’s largest producer of pork products. Shuanghui Group is one of China’s largest meat processors. But this is where they stop being similar.

smithfield-ham-1067591-flashSmithfield is American?

China, for good reason, has been much maligned about its food safety. As many as 16,000 dead pig carcasses recently floated down the Jiapingtang, a tributary to the river where Shanghai gets its drinking water. As if this was not bad enough, the Chinese government said that, even with the rotting pigs, the water still met national standards.

Ewww.

Doesn’t the perception of China’s poor food safety history now have some effect on the Smithfield brand?

It certainly will because the the brand prides itself on its Southern history as well as promises of quality assurance, traceability of each product and commitment to the environment.

Not exactly brand synergy, is it?