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Maple Leaf Consumer Foods Fixing Hot Dogs A Case Solution

Solution Id Length Case Author Case Publisher
1050 1030 Words (4 Pages) Allen Morrison, Sam Hill, Scott Hill Ivey Publishing : 903M17
This solution includes: A Word File A Word File

The Consumer Foods Division of Maple Leaf, in particular the hot dog business, has been facing a downward trend. The problems seem to lie in the company not being able to respond to challenges posed by a strong competitor (JMS), lesser evident presence in trade (retail) and a lack of national brands. The outcomes of such problems are low staff morale, lack of communication between various departments (such as sales, manufacturing, and marketing), and a lack of clear direction for the future hot dog business of MLF. The problems for the hot dog business are a major challenge to the company as this business was contributing the highest revenue among the Consumer Foods Division for the company. Gervin, in her capacity as a senior marketing director, has to straighten the hot dog business. However, the success of the business would also depend on close coordination between sales, marketing, and manufacturing.     

Following questions are answered in this case study solution

  1. Problem Identification

  2. Analysis

  3. Recommended Action Plan

Case Analysis for Maple Leaf Consumer Foods Fixing Hot Dogs A

Analysis

In the current scenario for the hot dog business, as presented above, three major alternatives can be proposed for the company, whose pros and cons will be discussed. The major alternatives are: a complete focus on health and nutritional values and thus producing by-product-free hot dogs; establish stronger linkages in trade and focus on the adult segment; and lastly, focus on growing and positioning more national brands.

Firstly, producing more hot dog variants for the family segment and focusing on the health aspect would put the company in strong competition with JMS. Learning from the success of JMS, Maple Leaf Consumer Foods needs to update its product offerings, design attractive packaging, and label its products as healthy and nutritious. Hence, the family segment would be attracted as they are concerned in particular with the health of their children. This is also an important point of concern as children are among the main influencers in the purchase of hot dogs. This makes the concept of adopting all-meat and by-product-free hot dogs more important for the company.

Secondly, the exhibits indicate that the adult segment is an important one for MLF. This is why the decline in sales in the adult segment is an important point of concern for the company. However, the company has to decide whether it wants to maintain its focus on the premium segment or move towards the economy and value segments. The focus on the value segment will provide the company with a large number of adult consumers, but the return on each customer will not be large. However, this is a large segment to exploit while keeping in mind a large number of young adults. Moreover, becoming a low-cost producer was also a suggestion of a previous director who saw potential in this segment. With low-cost production operations, the company will be able to charge lower prices in the value segments.

As part of this suggested alternative, it is also recommended to improve the company’s and its products’ image at the trade level. Hence, the marketing staff concerned with trade marketing needs to establish a strong position for the company’s hot dogs at large and small retailers. The retailer is the ultimate point of contact for the customer before purchase; hence, a strong positioning of the Consumer Foods Division needs to be maintained. This will come about by taking care of the relationship with retailers, giving them good margins and earning visible shelf space for the company’s products. At the same time, however, more product testing must be conducted at the manufacturing level to produce hot dogs that command good taste.                  

Lastly, an important alternative for MLF to consider is to develop more national brands of hot dogs and attract a large geographical base. This is consistent with the success of JMS that has established a much stronger presence nationally. While it is true that regional preferences vary across Canada, there is no harm in creating a national positioning for some of the brands. The products have to be positioned in the minds of MLF consumers that their tastes are not focused on any specific region or town in Canada, but is consistent with the national requirements.

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