According to Ben and Jerry’s website, In 1978 Ben & Jerry’s was started with $5 correspondence course in ice cream-making from Penn State and a $12,000 investment. Ben and Jerry then opened their first ice cream shop in a renovated gas station in Burlington, Vermont. Once the now infamous company began to gain credibility, Ben and Jerry rented space in an old spool and bobbin mill on South Champlain Street in Burlington and began packing their ice cream with the intent to distribute the pints to grocery and Mom & Pop stores. Ben of Ben and jerry’s traveled along restaurant delivery routes he serviced out of the back of his old VW Squareback wagon to deliver their pints, and soon enough, news of Ben & Jerry’s spreads. The first Franchise was opened in Shelburne, Vermont, and we all know of the success Ben and Jerry’s has arrived to today. This analysis looks at Ben and Jerry’s environmental and social efforts as strengths and opportunities; to combat the companies weaknesses in mediocre sale growth, and threats from rising health conscious trends.
Ben and Jerry’s is now a prestigiously established successful global operation, that has sales in USA, Europe, and Asia. They are also considered a socially responsible and environmentalist company with many strengths. Ben and Jerry’s is involved in good causes concerning global warming, gun control and saving family farms. Along with its products being packed in unbleached cardboard containers, the company uses Lean&Green freezers, which consume 30% less electricity than other freezers. Ben&Jerry’s company is considered very eco-friendly, and since 2012 all products of Ben&Jerry’s are guaranteed fair trade. Many of these details are listed on each Pint which states “We strive to make the best possible ice cream in the best possible way. We source Non-GMO ingredients, Fairtrade cocoa, sugar and Vanilla, eggs from cage-free hens and milk and cream from happy cows.”. Although I feel it is great that they include these details, I believe the company should do more to actively be more forthcoming with their other more worldly causes.
Suggested Marketing Actions
The company donates a minimum of $1.1 million of pretax profits to philanthropic causes yearly. However, I would suggest for the company to start advertising a percentage of every pint sold that could go to a specific cause. This would allow their customers to be more aware of the good Ben and Jerry’s does in the world, while also supporting them and doing good themselves. I believe their sales would increase, as they would also gain more loyal customers. Showing that Ben and Jerry’s is a morally responsible company, despite some of their weaknesses in the past.
In 2006 Ben and Jerry’s known egg supplier Michael Foods was receiving bad press from the Humane Society, which alleged that Michel Foods treated chickens inhumanely. As this threatened Ben and Jerry’s credibility in using only happy hen, the company switched suppliers. During the same year, the companies former CFO Stuart Wiles was convicted of wire fraud for embezzling $300,000 from the company, running from 2000 to 2004. Which is why I believe the company should put more effort into expressing its social and environmental responsibilities. Along with a bad light from the press in the past, Ben & Jerry’s has also been experiencing modest to flat-lined sales growth and profits.The maker of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream recently reported underlying sales growth of 3.2% for the latest three months. Which is a slowdown from 4.7% in the first half of the year.
Suggested Marketing Actions
The best way for the company to improve this weakness is to gain more experienced management, and potentially, marketing team, to fuel aggressive growth as social responsibility issues could be adding unnecessary costs, but they don’t have too.
I believe the companies social responsibility could be used to tap into some helpful opportunities. I suggest that the company could potentially create new flavors and names that could relate to a number of different causes.The company could also take up new opportunities to partner with organizations to help sponsor new flavors. Such as animal planet or national geographic, that would also share a desire to increase awareness for their specific cause. Allowing Ben and Jerry’s to reach out to specific new audiences that may support their partner organization, but may be new to Ben and Jerry’s equal stance. Reaching a larger audience through advertisement.
Suggested Marketing Actions
I suggest as a marketing action, that Instead of donating a minimum of $1.1 million yearly, the company could be still donating that same amount or more through an advertised percentage of their sales. For example, their popular flavors “Phish Food” and “Turtle Soup” could help support and partner with marine wildlife protection organizations and/or ocean conservation. This I feel would increase their presence in their environmental efforts while also appealing more to their customers and increasing sales.
One of the major threats Ben and Jerry’s currently faces is their high prices as a gourmet ice cream company. In this current economy ice cream is not always high on shoppers grocery lists as many are also becoming more concerned about fat heavy dessert products.
Suggested Marketing Actions
To address this threat I would suggest that the company increase its transparency with its responsible ingredients. Letting consumers know that if they are going to chose an ice cream Ben and Jerry is one of the more healthier options; especially with their line of frozen yogurt flavors. However, I feel the company could do more to appeal to current trends, not only in social and environmental causes. I believe Ben and Jerry’s should also create more healthier sugar, gluten, and dairy free options to appeal more to health conscious consumers. esspecially those with dietary need with much more limited audiences. Again widening the amount of consumers the company can reach.
Ben and Jerry’s has come a long way from their small town start in Burlington, Vermont. They have risen to become the widely known, successful global operation it is today. With all its effort in environmental and social responsibilities as its strengths, the company has untapped opportunities to utilize their efforts to advertise their brand. Opportunities that could help to overcome their weaknesses in mediocre sales, by reach a wider audience with potential partnerships with specific causes. Just as appealing to a wider audience can help Ben and Jerry’s battle their threats. Creating healthier flavors could bring in more health conscious customers concerned with fatty dessert options.In conclusion, so long as Ben and Jerry’s fortifies its strengths and turns them into opportunities, they should have no problem overcoming their threats and weaknesses.
Ben and Jerry’s website overall was helpful in building information about the companies strengths and values, while also providing details on how the company grew to fame.
Ben and Jerry’s YouTube channel was also helpful in covering the social mission of the company. It contained many videos like this to show the companies love and support for not only ice cream, but also social issues.
This Prezi presentation entitled “Ben and Jerry’s Disadvantages” I found to be very interactive and helpful, as it provided a lot of information on the companies weaknesses. All of which I used I was able to double check and found to be reliable information and a reliable source.
I found this article on CFO.com that aided my information on the weaknesses Ben and Jerry’s had faced in the past. It is entitled “Ex-CFO of Ben & Jerry’s to Plead Guilty”.
On Fortune.com I found this article entitled “Here’s Why Unilever Just Beat Sales Forecasts” was very helpful in proving Ben and Jerry’s slow changes in profit. Because of all though they have experienced an increase that was more than expected, it was still a decrease overall.
Along with all these internet sources, I had a pint of Ben a Jerry’s in my freezer that I found helpful to have to read all that I never noticed on the packaging.