The food production industry is undergoing substantial changes due to the development of technology, as well as the shift in political, social, and cultural domains. Modern hectic life makes packaged food popular among diverse groups, including students, young working adults, childless couples, and families (Casini, Contini, Romano, & Scozzafava, 2015).
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At the same time, it has been acknowledged that consumers have become more conscious about their health, which led to the emergence of new eating patterns (Asioli et al., 2017). Companies have to respond to these changes by introducing new production technologies, as well as marketing strategies. The case of Kraft Mac and Cheese is an illustration of the effective strategic marketing approach that enabled the company to retain its position in the market and even win a certain competitive advantage.
Kraft Mac and Cheese acknowledged the emerging trends and had to respond to the changing needs of their customers. The company knew that people wanted more natural ingredients, but they were not ready to choose their tastes, so such properties as the texture and specific color were regarded as vital elements of their products. The implementation of strategic marketing proved to be effective for the organization that managed to identify important trends. Aaker and Moorman (2017) note that companies should consider cultural, lifestyles, and demographic trends when developing their marketing strategies. Kraft Mac and Cheese were successful in implementing the research and developing a strategic approach to changing their product.
They managed to keep the basic properties intact and introduce more natural ingredients. They did not publicize the changes as other companies did, but had a more innovative framework. The new recipe had been used for a certain period of time before the company announced the changes, but stressed that nothing changed. The manufacturer stressed that they met their customers’ needs to consume more natural products but enjoy the flavor they love.
This strategy proved to be effective, but it was rather risky as well as it could have backfired. Research suggests that consumers are willing to be perfectly aware of the details regarding the products they consume, so they pay a lot of attention to labeling and packaging (Asioli et al., 2017). Consumers read labels and choose items based on the use of natural components and sustainability (Stead & Stead, 2014). Therefore, it is clear that consumers are willing to be properly informed regarding the products they buy. However, Kraft Mac and Cheese did not inform the customers about the changes in the composition and associated technology use. People could feel deceived as the producer did not provide the information as to the new ingredients, although those were more natural components.
However, the company still had a strong argument to defend itself in case of customer dissatisfaction or even litigation. The manufacturer provided all the necessary details on the package in accordance with the existing regulations and guidelines.
The strategic marketing approach utilized by Kraft Mac and Cheese was successful, but the company should continue addressing the exciting and upcoming demographic, cultural, and sustainability trends. For instance, it is essential to pay considerable attention to the preferences of older consumers as this population is increasing (Aaker & Moorman, 2017). These people have the time and resources to choose the most appropriate products that address their needs fully. Hence, it can be beneficial to encourage older customers to discuss the properties of the product they value. It is also important to emphasize that these qualities remain the same.
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As far as cultural trends are concerned, the focus is on natural ingredients, health, and convenience. Family patterns are now transforming as an increasing number of mothers have to balance their work and family life. The rate of single-parent families is also on the rise, so the popularity of convenience foods remains high (Aaker & Moorman, 2017). At the same time, people are becoming more concerned about their health as such natural components are still a priority. Kraft Mac and Cheese should place an emphasis on their ability to ensure healthy meals to families that have no time to invest in cooking.
Finally, consumers are increasingly conscious about the environment, which makes them expect or even demand sustainable practices from manufacturers. People try to decrease their environmental footprint; hence, they choose the corresponding products (Stead & Stead, 2014). Apart from trying to produce as little waste as possible, consumers are more willing to buy from companies that contribute to solving the existing environmental issues. In this respect, Kraft Mac and Cheese should publicize their sustainability policies. The use of natural ingredients is one of these strategies that should be mentioned. It is possible to stress that although flavor, texture, and color remain unchanged and as rich as ever, the environmental footprint is decreasing due to the use of advanced technologies.
On balance, Kraft Mac and Cheese can be seen as an innovator in the sphere of strategic marketing as the company chose an unconventional marketing model. They did not put to the fore the shifts in the recipe but notified about the changes post factum. The major emphasis was on unchanged texture, color, and flavor, as well as the use of more natural components. The company managed to remain competitive, but it is still essential to make sure that demographic trends will be properly addressed in consecutive marketing campaigns.
Aaker, D. A., & Moorman, C. (2017). Strategic market management (11th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Asioli, D., Aschemann-Witzel, J., Caputo, V., Vecchio, R., Annunziata, A., Næs, T., & Varela, P. (2017). Making sense of the “clean label” trends: A review of consumer food choice behavior and discussion of industry implications. Food Research International, 99, 58-71. Web.
Casini, L., Contini, C., Romano, C., & Scozzafava, G. (2015). Trends in food consumptions: What is happening to generation X? British Food Journal, 117(2), 705-718. Web.
Stead, J. G., & Stead, W. E. (2014). Sustainable strategic management (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.