Commodities Must Begin to Act Like Branded Companies: Some Perspectives from the United States
The agricultural commodity industry needs to focus more on profits, less on value, and must change with the consumer. In short, a branded approach is needed. Households today are comprised of time-starved persons working outside of the home who have less experience shopping for and distinguishing between ready-to-eat fruits and vegetables and ones that may be overripe. Consumers want to place their trust in branded companies to give an official endorsement that the product is indeed good and worthy of purchase (e.g., Dole Brands, Sun-Maid Raisins). This change in the mindset of today's food shopper has provided an unprecedented opportunity for marketers of commodities to begin to act like branded companies by stamping the name of a well-known brand onto a commodity thereby guaranteeing its goodness and freshness. A profitable opportunity exists on the horizon for commodity marketers to behave in a manner that is more consistent with branded companies and today's consumer. A case history of Ocean Spray, which has recently faced a decision to protect the brand or sell off and take the risk of being a non-branded commodity in an extremely competitive market, is also discussed.
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