Oatmeal: The Next Battleground in Food Marketing

Successful product launches are wonderful. Since 80-90% of new products fail, a successful product is not only a welcome change from the norm, it is essential for a business' survival and growth. The only problem is that successful products tend to draw attention... and imitators. Such is the case for Starbucks. It rolled out instant oatmeal in its stores, quickly becoming the company's most successful food product launch ever.

Now, Jamba Juice is looking to get in on the oatmeal action. The company has been testing oatmeal in its Chicago stores and plans a full rollout in January. The product is not an imitation in that it is slow cooked and touted as "steel cut" oatmeal (steel cut as opposed to "plastic cut" or "paper cut"?). Jamba Juice is counting on consumers perceiving a quality difference between its preparation method and that of Starbucks.

The need to differentiate is key in any product launch, especially when you are a follower rather than a leader. Without a distinct point of difference, Jamba Juice will come off as a "me too" player with its oatmeal offering. A potential payoff for Jamba Juice is that oatmeal might attract customers to its stores during a daypart that has less traffic. It is a shrewd move to grow business by attracting customers at a time of day when there is excess capacity.

Link: Ad Age - "Jamba Juice Launches Volley in New Oatmeal War"

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