Attune Foods: Challenging the Goliaths with Authenticity

By Glenn Carroll, Xavier Lederer
2011 | Case No. SM200

The US organic cereal business is fascinating: while most brands of organic breakfast cereals were founded by hippies who wanted to make a difference in the world in the 70s and 80s, many have been taken over by large “traditional’ food companies. Attune Foods and its brands Uncle Sam and Erewhon is an exception: it is a small, independent player. Its ambition is to become a leading digestive health brand in the country: not exactly a popular conversation topic at most family dinner tables. Attune faced two challenges: - Develop a way to communicate about digestive health in a consumer-friendly way. - Communicate its differentiation with food giants like General Mills and Kellogg in a compelling way, with way less financial resources. Attune decided to base its strategy on authenticity: a less costly strategy that the company believed would allow it to clearly communicate its message and to differentiate it from the big boys. It applied the concept of authenticity in all aspects of its business (e.g., product definition, production and sourcing, communication). The case describes the company and its competition. The challenge facing Attune at the time of the case was to double the size of the company within four years.

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