Ivey Publishing

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A Terroir Olive Oil Mill Against Agri-Food Multinationals
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17 pages (10 pages of text)
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Case (Field)
AWARD WINNING CASE – This case won the Euro-Mediterranean Managerial Practices and Issues category at the 2015 EFMD Case Writing Competition. The chief executive officer of Les Moulins de la Brague (LMB), a seven-generation French olive oil miller, was worried about the future of the business. LMB was trying to find a profitable niche in a market that was filled with multinational companies, whose products came in a variety of quality and price ranges, and filled the shelves of French grocery stores. Although LMB had achieved critical acclaim for its blended olive oils made with spices and flavours, the business was unstable for a number of reasons. First, weather conditions had caused a decrease in the number of olives harvested. Second, on the consumer front, shoppers’ interest in the health benefits of olive oil, promoted by the popularity of the “Mediterranean diet” seemed to have peaked. Finally, the market was flooded with various levels of quality: low-quality brands with low prices; medium-quality brands that dominated consumer markets; and many high-end premium brands that were produced by olive mills just like LMB. With a market environment pressured in so many ways, how could LMB keep its 200-year-old millstones turning?
Learning Objective:
This case is proposed as supporting material for a strategic management course. It is suitable for graduate management students in an MSc or MBA program. After completion of this case, students should be able to:
  • Understand the different growth and strategic positioning scenarios for olive oil producers.
  • Determine the different strategies pursued by olive oil producers and the various value propositions of olive oil companies.
  • Assess the evolution of the economic profitability of olive oil producers and the stability of economic profitability over time.
General Management/Strategy,  Entrepreneurship,  International
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
France, 2014
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$5.30 CAD / $5.00 USD Printed Copy
$4.50 CAD / $4.25 USD Permissions
$4.50 CAD / $4.25 USD Digital Download
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