Enterprise polony packaging before and after
  • After more than 200 deaths linked to Listeria bacteria apparently spread by its factory, Enterprise polony is back on shelves with only small changes to its packaging.
  • It has not re-entered the market at a discount; Enterprise polony is among the most expensive on shelves we checked.
  • Polony prices increased sharply in December, and are now back above year-ago levels, before listeriosis.

Enterprise polony – blamed for more than 200 deaths in the worst outbreak of listeriosis the world has ever seen – is back on shelves less than a year later, and it isn't cheap.

Side-by-side shelf comparisons this week showed that Enterprise was on sale for a premium of 7% over Pick n Pay's "No Name" house brand French polony, and at a price nearly 20% more than chicken polony.

Eskort branded French polony, which was never linked to the deadly Listeria bacteria and remained on most shelves throughout – was available at a similar 7.5% premium over the Enterprise-branded version. 

See also: This is how much South Africa’s listeriosis victims may get, lawyers say

Although the Enterprise logo and distinctive colours remain the same as before listeriosis, the polony packaging has one obvious and a few more subtle changes that all emphasise food safety.

The boldest change is a safety seal and stamp that implies each polony has “passed” a “7 step quality check process” that provides “improved food safety”.

The packages do not disclose anything more about the quality-check process, but in December Enterprise released this video on the process:

Enterprise has also added the words “pasteurised” and “hygienic” to the polony sleeves – though the latter refers to the clips that seal each polony.

The new packaging retains the phrase “quality ingredients”, but replaces a previous claim that it is “quick and convenient” with the phrase “firm & tasty”.

Enterprise polony

The main brand promise, directly linked to the Enterprise name, has also changed, from “don’t compromise” to “quality you can trust”.

Polony prices dropped dramatically in 2018, as the scale of the Listeria outbreak became apparent, but appear to have fully recovered. According to the latest monthly food price basket compiled by the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC), average polony prices increased by 7.1% month-on-month in December – putting it well above the price in December 2017, before the listeriosis outbreak was detected.

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