Tag Archives: Food

Kellogg Splits into Three Companies

Organizations never sit still for very long. Before you know it, there is a new product/service rival, or new company, or change in supply chain, or change in consumer demands. Since we know change is inevitable, the challenge for marketers is to be aware of the environment and know where their company is strong and weak. Where are the opportunities? What are the threats? What companies want to take their market share?

Often these environmental changes, combined with revised corporate strategies, cause an old, established company to split into separate entities in order to better serve the market and shareholders. For example, last year, Johnson & Johnson announced it will break into two companies serving (1) consumer health products and (2) pharmaceuticals. General Electric will split into three companies to serve (1) healthcare, (2) power, and (3) aviation. 

The most recent example of a large conglomerate breaking into separate companies is Kellogg. Kellogg is the latest large company to announce it is splitting businesses into separate entities. The North America cereal business will be around $2.4 billion in sales; the plant-based foods business at $340 million in sales; the global snacks business is the largest at $11.4 billion (and was 80% of Kellogg’s sales last year).

Each of these businesses faces different environmental factors, and of course markets its products to different segments. In this case, cereal is stable, plant-based is growing but with increasing competition, leaving snacks as a large and growing segment.

Breaking Kellogg into independent companies will help it focus on distinct strategic priorities and opportunities in each of the three markets. Snacking is a higher-growth market than is cereal. Plant-based foods are growing overall, but need attention. And all three companies face increasing competition not only from established companies such as General Mills and Mondelez, but also new companies building more plant-based and natural food products.

What would you do?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Show WSJ video on why companies split up: https://www.wsj.com/video/series/news-explainers/why-conglomerates-split-up/F7EF3E9D-2D5D-4732-AA79-F41889C7D039
  2. Discuss when breaking up a conglomerate makes good business sense.
  3. Review Kellogg’s products and overall company: https://www.kelloggs.com/en_US/home.html
  4. Show the company announcement of the split: https://investor.kelloggs.com/news-and-events/press-releases/news-details/2022/KELLOGG-COMPANY-ANNOUNCES-SEPARATION-OF-TWO-BUSINESSES-AS-BOLD-NEXT-STEPS-IN-PORTFOLIO-TRANSFORMATION/default.aspx
  5. Discuss the components of a situation analysis: company, general industry, trends, key competitors, technology, legal, etc.
  6. Ask students what data they would want in order to make a marketing decision for dividing Kellogg into separate companies.
  7. Divide students into teams. Have each team use laptops to do general research to answer the questions above. (ex: overview of industry, size, growth, new technologies, environmental impact, etc.)
  8. Debrief the exercise by compiling information on the white board. Does this give a good picture of the situation faced by Kellogg?

Sources:  Gasparro, A. (21 June 2022). Kellogg splitting into three companies as it shifts focus to global snacks. Wall Street Journal.  

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Plant Milks Keep Growing

What is your favorite milk drink? And, no, we don’t mean do you prefer skim, 1%, 2%, or whole milk. Because today there are more “milks” available to consumers than just dairy milks.

There are numerous plant-based milks available made from various nuts, seeds, grains, and even vegetables. But the latest is one you might not be familiar with on your morning cereal – it’s a plant milk made from – wait for it – potatoes! The new potato milk is made by Swedish company Dug Drinks and is already being sold in Great Britain with distribution in the U.S. planned later this year.

Dug is far from alone as a non-dairy milk on the shelves and in coffee shops. With a growth in health-conscious diets such as vegan and non-animal food fare, the market has seen a proliferation in food and drink plant-based substitutes made from oats, almonds, cashews, flax seeds, and more. Plant-based foods are trending up as consumers gain interest in sustainability, health, and ethical practices. And of course the pandemic’s impact on supply chain also pushed people to try different products when their old reliable products were not easily available.

“Milk” drinks alone are a large category of products. Sales of plant-based milks in the U.S. were an estimated $2.5 billion at the end of the year, accounting for 15% of all retail milk sales and 35% of all plant-based foods. Repeat sales of the beverages averages 75% for a high level of retention. And, plant-based milk is one of the most developed plant-based food categories and is consistently shelved next to dairy milk.

Most plant-based milks are made the same way; the main ingredient is soaked in water, then pressed or blended into a puree. This is then filtered to remove particles, and additional ingredients may  be added to gain better texture and flavor.

However, the drinks also carry a political weight; the dairy industry had been petitioning the U.S. Food and Drink Administration to prohibit the  term “milk” label for all non-dairy products. And many drinks made from nuts can have adverse environmental impacts, particularly when water is scarce in communities. But, the category is quite innovative and keeps growing to offer additional plant-based drinks and foods.

Now that you know some of the options, what is your favorite milk?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Review key aspects of developing a product positioning map, including determining the axis labels for positioning.
  2. Poll students: What are reasons for people to consume plant-based foods?
  3. Show a brief video about the rise of plant milk: https://youtu.be/yoAeuJlt7qo
  4. Have students use laptops to review various plant-based milk drinks.
  5. Oatly oat milk: https://www.oatly.com/en-us
  6. Dug potato milk: https://dugdrinks.com/
  7. Silk almond milk: https://silk.com/
  8. Ripple plant milk: https://www.ripplefoods.com/
  9. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a positioning map for a plant-based drink. What are the two axis labels they will use?
  10. What happens if the axis labels change?

Source:  Petersen, V. (28 February 2022). Have we reached peak plant milk? Not even close. New York Times.

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Chocolate and Pretzels Make a Perfect Match for Hershey

It’s always snack time around our work place. And of course the best snack flavor profile favors chocolate and salt! Sweet and savory. All of which makes Hershey’s acquisition of snack companies Dot’s Pretzels and Pretzels, Inc. a great match. The two deals will amount to roughly $1.2 billion for the chocolate company and expand its product portfolio farther into the snack area.

North Dakota-based Dot’s Pretzels is a key prize for Hershey as Dot’s accounted for about 55% of the pretzel category growth last year. The snack category overall has done well under the pandemic as people everywhere reach for comfort foods and treats. And it’s easy to grab snacks when studying or working from home!

Pretzels aren’t the only product that Hershey is buying. In 2018 it bought SkinnyPop popcorn maker Amplify Snack Brands for $1.6 billion. Hershey also has entered into the nutrition bar category, diversifying from chocolate as consumers buy healthier snacks.  Hershey has also acquired Krave jerky and expanded Reese’s pretzel-nut-chocolate snacks. Other new treats from the company include:

  • KIT KAT Thins
  • Reese’s Snack Cakes for a mid-morning snack
  • Organic Hershey’s Bars
  • Organic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • Zero sugar chocolates

Shoppers seek more options than ever before. Hershey’s stated goal: Become a snacking behemoth. That’s a tall order when competing with companies the size of Nestle, PepsiCo, Mondelez, and Kraft.

Care for a snack?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. NOTE: If available near you, buy a couple of bags of Dot’s Pretzels and bring them to class (along with Hershey bars). It’s always a nice idea to feed students.
  2. Discuss the four primary marketing strategies: market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification. When is each used?
  3. Which strategy is Hershey’s using with Dot’s Pretzels? Why is it in acquisition mode?
  4. Show the list of brands Hershey owns: https://www.hersheyland.com/brands
  5. Show Dot’s website: https://dotspretzels.com/
  6. Next, discuss setting SMART objectives (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound) for marketing strategies.
  7. Divide students into teams. Have each team develop five SMART objectives for the new acquisition’s products.

Source: Hershey to buy two pretzel makers for $1.2 billion, Reuters News Service; Newman, J. (Nov 10, 2021), Hershey plans to spend $1.2 billion in deals for pretzel producers, Wall Street Journal.

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