Food marketing: Strength in numbers

Damien McLoughlin, Mary Shelman and David E Bell
UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School and Harvard Business School

TROLL-CALL of food and agribusiness firms of global scale is noteworthy but short. ‘Co-opetition’ is a strategy that invites competitors to compete in some areas and co-operate in others. The advantage, from an indigenous firm's perspective, is that scale can be relatively cheaply and quickly assembled. The authors use two Harvard Business School case studies1 to demonstrate the strategy's potential.


Few crystal-ball gazers in 2000 could have predicted both the mayhem and the opportunities that exist in the global business environment today. Looking ahead from 2011, what is more predictable is that global food markets in the next ten years will have a number of qualities in which scale will be a very useful asset. Primary among these is the location of growth. While most Western economies appear to be returning to their somewhat normal economic pattern, the location of higher economic growth has undoubtedly shifted to Asian, South American and African economies.