gourmet ice cream Flavours bohemian Raspberry

Ben and Jerrys Bohemian Raspberry Ice Cream

Gourmet Ice Cream flavours like Cherry Garcia

Gourmet Ice Cream In a Global Market

Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc.,  co-founders, school mates Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield in Vermont in 1978.  The company began as the anti-corporate, high fat content,  with extra chunky scoops and catchy flavors, that set themselves apart from any other Ice Cream Company.  They started selling by the scoop, but soon began selling by the pint and from there, their business began to grow.  The company went public in 1984 where they adopted a very different atmosphere where stockholder meetings were held outside in  festive, medieval courtyard environments. Meetings begin  with a song,and the dress code included cut-off and tie dyed T-shirts. They are known most famously for  catchy flavor names of their ice cream, such as Cherry Garcia and Rain Forest Crunch.

 Ben & Jerry’s has become the second largest super premium ice cream maker in the US market next to Haagen-Dazs. But they entered the global market without having a sound strategy. Beginning with  a licensing agreement which was not very successful because of the protective barriers in the dairy industry.  Their first attempt to enter Israel and Russia  were plagued with difficulties in trying to keep up their market share. Ben and Jerry’s next ventured into Japan, the worlds 2nd largest ice cream consumer. They contemplated two options; first to pursue an alliance with Seven-Eleven, giving them exclusive rights to carry Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for a limited time, or work with a Japanese American who would sell the ice cream through his Domino Pizza Franchise,  allowing him long-term rights to all sales in Japan.  

Japan is  an intensely competitive market with many barriers to entry, also, the complexity of the distribution system and the distance of shipping frozen products international.  The introduction of a unique brand of colorful, chunky ice cream to the Japanese market was very difficult because it was very different from Haagen-Dazs which they were accustomed to, with its smooth and expensive taste.  The Japanese have very high sophisticated taste in consumer goods as can be attested to by Gucci, and Louis Vuitton.

Without a support staff present in Japan, capturing the Japanese market would prove to be challenging for Ben & Jerry’s.

Having a strong brand image is extremely important in Japan. Japanese culture is  relies heavily on fads and trends that change very quickly.  In order to be successful Ben & Jerry's needed to target market timing.    The CEO's had to decide how to enter the Japanese market. Should they work with  the Japanese American giving  exclusive rights to licensing without Ben & Jerry’s oversight? This strategy proved ineffective within the Israeli and Russian markets.  Or should they strongly consider Seven- Eleven's 7000 convenient stores, which could reach the masses without having to incur major expenses such as distribution network cost.  Ben & Jerry’s immediate aim were a sales and profit boost, entry into Japan is a guaranteed profit booster, being the second largest ice cream market.  However, for the sake of future revenue, Management had to make sure a researched, strategic entry, with knowledgeable, internal management, as opposed to weak, decision less board members. 

At the  time Japan’s weakened economy was a concern in 1997 and as such never quite captured the market Ben & Jerry's anticipated, but it would still be a concern now with the recent earthquake and recovery.  Japan’s economy was beginning to grow again before the earthquake but many businesses suffered during this time and the economy is currently growing again.  There is never a way to predict whether earthquakes of that size would occur but if the economy was weak at that point it is still somewhat weak now.  The good thing about  the Japanese market is that there will always be a want from companies to sell there.


Ben & Jerry

Ben And Jerry's  Co-Founders