The Food Industry Wars: Marketing Triumphs and Blunders

The Food Industry Wars: Marketing Triumphs and Blunders

The Food Industry Wars: Marketing Triumphs and Blunders

The Food Industry Wars: Marketing Triumphs and Blunders


How food marketers make use of key variables- such as innovation; target market; market segmentation; image; and physical, environmental, and human resources- determines how successfully they sell their products. Michman and Mazze concentrate on the food industry as they examine what contributes to a successful marketing campaign. The authors discover that not all variables have to be used concurrently; some may be more important than others depending on environmental conditions, and the effective use of one variable may cancel the ineffectiveness of another. By focusing on the key variables to use in a volatile economic environment, by emphasizing lessons learned from both marketing successes and failures, and by demonstrating how to adapt key variables to changing conditions, Michman and Mazze help executives ensure the success of their marketing efforts.

Mazze and Michman examine 10 institutional formats in the American food marketing and distribution structure- supermarkets, fast-food, ice cream, soup, breakfast cereal, baby food, ethnic food, snack food, candy and soft-drinks. The supermarket industry is analyzed first with an overview of food marketing and distribution. Specific industries are then analyzed using the five key variables (innovation, image, target market, physical environment, and human resources) with a historical framework to help managers learn from past marketing mistakes. The authors emphasize that avoidance of past mistakes is essential for sound marketing strategy, a fact illustrated by the examples of companies afflicted by injuries who have disregarded this advice.


Success comes when managers act on their organizations’ specific capabilities and advantages. Today’s managers need to look beyond financial statements to ensure profitability. A strategy that is proclaimed and then not executed is worse than no strategy. Essentially, the role of management is to manage changes that might affect its organizations. Increasingly, a proactive rather than a reactive approach to events is warranted. In order to accomplish these objectives, organizations need to understand past history and practices so that mistakes can be avoided. Managers must determine what they can do either differently or better than the competition. Facing intense competition, marketers are confronting different types of challenges and need to comprehend complexities and interrelationships in a volatile economic environment. For example, in the breakfast cereal industry, with the marketing of cereal bars such as Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain, there is competition not only within its own industry but with the snack food and candy industries as well. Thus the food industry wars are growing fiercer.

Key variables have been identified for ensuring the success of food marketers. These variables include: innovation, target-market segmentation and image, physical environmental resources, and human resources. In considering the successes, failures, and mistakes of food marketers, the challenge is to discern whether successful food marketers received high grades using all of the variables or was success determined by using some of the variables in an exceedingly capable manner. Correspondingly, it would be interesting to discern if failure or mistakes can be attributed to either the lack of use of all variables or just the ineffective use of some variables.

This volume evolved from many years of observing the business environment, teaching courses in marketing strategy, and closely monitoring the literature in the public domain. As a result, a distinctive framework has been developed emphasizing how food marketers use key variables such as innovation, image and target-market segmentation, the physical environ-

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