Cracking the Egg Industry: Hampton Creek Tries a Vegan Take on Classic Mayo

by: Andrew Hoffman

Publication Date: April 18, 2017
Length: 14 pages
Product ID#: 1-430-509

Core Disciplines: Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Marketing/Sales, Strategy & Management

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Teaching Note

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In 2013, Hampton Creek entered the mayonnaise marketplace with the world’s first plant-based, vegan mayonnaise “Just Mayo”.  The creation of an egg-free version of mayonnaise had the potential to upset the market, especially for Unilever’s Hellmann’s brand. The case provides an overview of Unilever’s role in the mayonnaise market, highlighting its commitment to innovation and sustainability, as well as its analysis of Hampton Creek as both an opportunity and a threat. Students are asked to examine this complex problem with Unilever and grapple with the tension between encouraging innovation and progress, while protecting a key source of revenue from a new market entrant.

Teaching Objectives

After reading and discussing the material, students should:

  • Analyze and estimate the impact of the current health movement on the food industry in the United States.
  • Assess the decision to file a lawsuit against Hampton Creek.
  • Weigh the benefits and drawbacks of “carrot vs. stick” approaches to responding to competition.
  • Assess how to succeed in the face of a changing marketplace.