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Product strategies for growth in niche food firms

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Purpose ‐ The aim of this paper is to contribute to a better understanding of growth processes of speciality food firms and how these processes influence the producers' perception of quality demands of the products. Design/methodology/approach ‐ A case study approach was chosen covering four specialty food companies in Norway. This explorative study was conducted from the producer's perspective. Findings ‐ Results show that, as part of growth processes, firms invest in different activities to strengthen the quality of their products to achieve distinctiveness in more competitive markets. The most important quality that contributes to distinctiveness and increased value seems to be traditional handicraft production processes. In some cases, expensive and time-consuming processes are invested in developing qualities that are not transformed into higher value in the market. Research limitations/implications ‐ The number of cases is too small for statistical analysis, but this explorative case study may provide a basis for a survey of a larger sample of firms. Practical implications ‐ The study indicates a need for companies to gain more knowledge about consumers' preferences and behaviour, and to develop product qualities and market communication accordingly. Originality/value ‐ Research is scarce on obstacles to growth in specialty food firms. This study contributes important knowledge to enhance further development of the industry.
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Keywords: Growth strategies; Norway; Qualities; Small firms; Speciality food; Value added

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2014

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