ESADE Business School Barcelona
For over 25 years, Cristóbal Colón, La Fageda’s founder and president, had managed this cooperative that primarily produced yoghurts and dairy puddings, employing a large share of La Garrotxa’s mentally-challenged population. He had been able to position these yoghurts -made in a small town far away from Barcelona’s commercial hub- right next to Danone products, undisputed dairy sector leader in Spain, on supermarket and hypermarket shelves. La Fageda had accomplished this feat by producing a quality yoghurt that consumers viewed as a farm product –natural and wholesome.
By late 2007, Colón’s overriding concern was how to keep La Fageda’s yoghurts in distribution circuits. On the one hand, large food multinationals had ever increasing leverage with distributors; on the other hand, some leading distributors were prioritizing their own brands. Colón wondered if La Fageda could maintain its competitive positioning while upholding its foundational spirit. For him, it was paramount to preserve the jobs that enabled La Fageda to ensure social and labor inclusion for mentally-handicapped people.
This case may be used at intermediate business policy courses, assuming that students have previously acquired strategic analysis knowledge, although it may also prove useful to educate students on notions such as mission definition, vision, goals, strategies, policies, as well as internal and external analysis. This case may also be used to help members of NGOs, foundations, etc. to understand the challenges faced to compete in the marketplace and, at the same time, uphold organizations’ values and mission.