Ben & Jerrys Homemade Ice Cream Inc.: Period of Transition Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream Inc.: A Period of Transition


Ben and Jerry’s is an American ice cream manufacturing company, which has been in the industry for more than 40 years. The company has been operating since 1978 when Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield started the business with an initial investment of $12,000. The company started its operations in Burlington, Vermont United States. The company got initial success in 1980, at that time the ice cream was sold through small outlets in the local nearby area. With initial success in the ice cream industry, Ben and Jerry’s started selling super premium ice cream where the company got exceptional recognition and reputation by introducing unconventional “mix-in” flavors, which were the Cherry Garcia and the Chunky Monkey. By the mid 1990’s, the company was large enough that it started selling products through major retail outlets in United States. In 1995, Ben and Jerry’s established itself as the number two brand in super premium ice cream industry with a market share of more than 43%. The break through products for the company was the different variety of flavors with extra toppings. The most successful flavors in the 1990s were the Chocolate Chip cookie Dough, Rain Forest Crunch and the Cherry Garcia. Along with manufacturing ice cream, the company even started manufacturing frozen yogurts. The major competitors of the company are Haagez Dazs, Dreyer and the Brayer’s.

Stakeholders for Ben and Jerry’s

The key stak holders for Ben and Jerry’s are the parties or individuals, who have a direct relationship and interest in the company. Discussing the stakeholders of Ben and Jerry’s, so the key stakeholders are the customers and consumers, the management team of the company along with the employees, all the suppliers for raw material, the stockholders, raw material manufacturer and the community market.

Strategic Perspective

The case “Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream Inc.: A Period of Transition” basically is quite an important study based on the strategic perspective of the company, which has to pursue and move forward in the ice cream industry, which as the case states has become quite fragmented with various companies entering the market through separate brands, mergers and acquisitions. Over here, Ben and Jerry’s is looking to develop a strategy for the future where they can overcome the current competitive problems and difficulties by staying aligned with the company’s background and strategic mission.

Problem Identification

      Reduction in sales during 1994 for super premium products in the market

      Increase in number of competitors within the industry

      Ben and Jerry’s did not invest on advertising and paid no attention to media attention

      Limited number of distributors for the company.


The above listed problems that have been identified in the case “Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream Inc.: A Period of Transition” can be resolved through a strategic plan, which can account for improving sales of the company along with better execution of company‘s mission and vision. To increase sales and revenue for the company since the slump in revenue during 1994, the company should offer discounted prices during festive occasions and randomly on weekends and holidays. This can be an appropriate move to increase sales by looking to offer discounts to the customers at retail outlets and super markets.

Secondly, the company Ben and Jerry’s should enter into regular and traditional ice creams too as the people preference for ice cream has changed. Along with this, Ben and Jerry’s should offer incentives for retailers and super markets to stock Ben and Jerry’s products in their space shelves. This will not only increase sales for the company but will also make the customer aware of the different products offered by the company at different super markets and retail stores. As the case states, Ben and Jerry’s should offer the strategy of “direct store delivery,” whereby ice cream can be delivered to stores and actually placed on the shelves by a distributor representative. This can account for increased sales for the company in the future.


Corporate Strategy

The recommended corporate strategy for Ben and Jerry’s will be to opt for vertical integration. The reason vertical integration can be an important strategy for the company in order to moveforward in the stagnant and fragmented ice cream industry is because then it will allow Ben and Jerry’s to command and control all its suppliers, raw materials and end customers too. In the current strategy, where the company will have hold over its supply chain and the end customer; therefore, it will allow the company to set prices that are reasonable and economical.

Along with this, under vertical integration quality of products or even the raw materials used within the manufacturing goods of Ben and Jerry’s traditional ice cream products and the super premium products will also improve and will become better. With vertical integration installed at Ben and Jerry’s, the company can open up more small outlets in busy areas and shopping points of the country. Along with this, when the company will have hold over its supply chain, so the cost of manufacturing will also reduce and improve upon the ...................

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Bob Holland has served as CEO of the company iconoclastic ice in February 1995, when he is faced with a serious crisis. The Netherlands now have a strategy that adapts to the environment and in accordance with a unique heritage of the company. "Hide

by David J. Collis, Melinda B. Conrad Source: Harvard Business School 20 pages. Publication Date: January 16, 1996. Prod. #: 796109-PDF-ENG

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