John C. Ickis
INCAE Business School Costa Rica
Nutrivida was a social business created by an alliance between Florida Ice & Farm Co (FIFCO), a Costa Rican beer company, Yunus Social Business (YSB), an organization founded by Professor Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank (the “bank to the poor”) and Peace Nobel laureate. This new social enterprise intended to fight malnutrition, focusing specially in children under two and pregnant women living in extreme poverty. To fulfill its mission, Nutrivida developed a line of highly nutritional foods to sell at low prices at low-income neighborhoods in San José’s metropolitan area. It also planned to expand its distribution nationwide and, eventually, to other countries in Central America and the Caribbean. By late 2016, Nutrivida still failed to break even and turn a profit. Part of Nutrivida’s strategy hinged on product distribution via a “Mums for Nutrition” (MANU, for its acronym in Spanish) network. However, after operating for three years, this channel continued to have minimal sales. Nutrivida’s general manager, Anne Marie Nouel, had to determine the steps to take to boost the organization’s sales and what to do with its MANU network to make Nutrivida financially sustainable.