Silk Soy Milk (a)
16 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2009
The Silk soy milk brand evolves from a single homemade product to a regional and then national brand, facing challenges along the way such as investment influx, acquisition, and competition from new entrants into the very market it created. Silk's marketing angles at various growth stages are discussed, and students consider whether the company should expand its presence or develop new categories, as well as how its efforts could best realize growth targets. Which option carries the biggest risks, and which would best enhance Silk's position as a market leader?
Rev. Jun. 12, 2012
SILK SOY MILK (A)
Soy Milk Background
Traditional soy milk, believed to have originated in China during the Han Dynasty, was a mixture of oil, water, and protein, produced by soaking dry soybeans and grinding them with water. The soybean has been a staple of the Asian diet for thousands of years and contains many nutrients, including protein, complex carbohydrates, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, folate, and iron.
In 1979, Hong Kong-based soy milk maker Vitasoy introduced its soy milk to the United States. Initially, the company sold its product store to store in San Francisco's Chinatown. In time, however, soy milk became a popular milk substitute for the lactose-intolerant. Additionally, it garnered a following from vegans and from health-conscious consumers, who were attracted to its health benefits, perceived as preferable to cow's milk. “Shifts in perceptions tend to occur ‘on the fringes'—and that is precisely what we saw with soy,” said Kristin Heimerl, health food and technologies marketing manager for Cargill. “In the 1960s and 1970s, soy won the interest of the counterculture and became the darling of the health food industry.”
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Keywords: soy milk, beverage industry
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