Blame for the crisis facing Kellogg (MW, last week) can only in part be laid at the door of the cereal manufacturer’s departing management. Surely the real culprits here, certainly on this side of the Atlantic, are the supermarket chains that have bastardised the sales of this venerable institution through the insidious march of own-label brands.
Sad to say, Kellogg has taken its eye off the ball in recent years, but in the face of the swift and constant cloning of its innovations by supermarkets with little or no concern for the long-term growth of the brand, the company would have had to remain remarkably quick on its feet if it were to maintain the market ascendancy that it once commanded.
In any industry other than food manufacturing, this blatant copying of new ideas would be met with swift and savage legal action, yet faced with the virtual cartel that the major supermarket chains operate in this country, what can a producer do if they are to maintain their means of distribution?
Kellogg is an obvious and very prominent victim of this unfair competition. One must ask, how many other lesser yet no less innovative companies have paid the ultimate price in their battle to win shelf space?