Ben and Jerry's - the Journey to Japan Essay
Ben and Jerry's Homemade, Inc. originated as an ice cream shop founded by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield in Burlington Vermont in 1978. It produced a line of ice creams regarded as "super premium" on account of their containing at least 12% butterfat (compared with about 6-10% for regular ice creams) and their high density.
Haagen-Dazs (founded in New Jersey in 1961) was the only major competitor in the super premium market. While Haagen-Dazs promoted a sophisticated image, Ben and Jerry's promoted a funky (embodied by its flavor names), caring, image with a strong social mission.
By 1994 sales were $149 million and distribution was in every state of the union …show more content…
In 1988 Cohen gave a friend, Avi Zinger, license to manufacture product in Israel for that market. 1997 Israeli sales totaled about $5 million, but the only revenue accruing to Ben and Jerry's Homemade Inc. would be licensing income, and this amount was negligible
Market Opportunities for Ben and Jerry's in Japan
While happening into its several foreign markets, Ben and Jerry's had also begun making inquiries about the Japan market in the mid 1990s. Japan represented the second largest ice cream market in the world, with annual sales of approximately $4.5 billion, but it also was known to have a complex distribution system with high entry barriers.
Ben and Jerry's would be a late entrant, more than ten years behind Haagen-Dazs’ initial entry. In addition, there were at least six Japanese ice cream manufacturers selling a super premium product.
Despite the challenges of entering Japan, it would not be necessary to educate the consumers to super premium ice creams. Japanese consumers were known for demanding high quality products with great varieties of new flavors, attributes which characterized the Ben and Jerry’s product line.
By 1994, annual per capita