Just: Positioned to Target Mainstream Tastes? (A)

17 Pages Posted: 4 Sep 2019

See all articles by Luca Cian

Luca Cian

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Gerry Yemen

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Jeff Boichuk

University of Virginia - McIntire School of Commerce

Abstract

Well suited for MBA and undergraduate marketing programs, this case uses product positioning and placement during the early growth stages of a start-up's brand in the food industry to unfold circumstances that allow for an analysis of the firm's positioning and food marketing decisions. All products are plant-based foods distributed nationally in the United States. Seeking to target mainstream tastes and low price, tensions among the three pillars of the brand's marketing strategy, which are quality, accessibility, and sustainability, leave the case open to explore uncertainty, positioning, marketing mix, and consumer behavior. The A case opens with Josh Tetrick, Just's founder and CEO, facing an obstacle to the brand around accessibility. Target delisted all Just products in its stores after receiving an unverified, anonymous letter claiming that some of the products were unsafe and mislabeled. Although it only accounted for a small percentage of sales, losing Target affected Just's ability to meet its distribution goal to reach price-conscious consumers where they shopped and its greater goal to build a food system where everyone could eat well.

Excerpt

UVA-M-0956

Rev. Aug. 20, 2019

Just: Positioned to Target Mainstream Tastes? (A)

Just CEO Josh Tetrick founded his food innovation start-up in San Francisco in 2011. Six years later, he was running the multi-million-dollar company based on “things he knew to be true.” The truth that had set Tetrick in motion was that the the arconventional food system left billions of people eating poorly or not at all. Another truth that guided Just was that many mainstream consumers rejected veganism, which ran counter to their identities. As such, Tetrick and his team were dead set on positioning the Just brand in such a way that it would appeal to mainstream consumers—not because Just products happened to be plant based or because they aimed to cause no unnecessary harm to the planet or to animals—but because Just products were high quality, accessible, and affordable. Indeed, the three pillars of the brand's marketing strategy were quality, accessibility, and sustainability. Just's mantra was that humankind had a system problem, not a people problem: it was too easy for mainstream consumers to do the wrong thing. In Tetrick's estimation, “The only way the good thing wins is when the good thing is so radically better than the not-so-good thing that you cannot help but do it. If it's not affordable and delicious, it's completely irrelevant to solving the problem.”

. . .

Keywords: health, taste, new product, food marketing, positioning, placement, start-up, consumer behavior, brand, consumer bias

Suggested Citation

Cian, Luca and Yemen, Gerry and Boichuk, Jeff, Just: Positioned to Target Mainstream Tastes? (A). Darden Case No. UVA-M-0956. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3445952

Luca Cian (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Gerry Yemen

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Jeff Boichuk

University of Virginia - McIntire School of Commerce

P.O. Box 400173
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4173
United States

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