Sample Marketing Paper

Case: Sunripe Marketplace: A Private Label Strategy

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Introduction. 2

Overview.. 2

Problem.. 2

Recommendation. 3

Problem analysis. 3

Conclusion. 5

References. 7



This case study contains information on Sunripe and its founder, Will Willemsen. The main private label brands of Sunripe, which include Pink Lady Pork, Charcoal Beef, and Brick Loaf Bread, are described, with the emphasis being the way in which they have continued to win approval from customers over the years.


The case study contains insightful background information on both the Sunripe Marketplace and its founder, Willemsen. The origin of products from the Ontario Food Terminal is also described. Aspects of Sunripe’s customers, as well as the company’s in-store systems, are described in complete detail. Particularly, the product assortment method used in the company is explored, with various products such as beef, chicken, frozen seafood and pork being at the center of the analysis. In terms of the private-label products, the main product mentioned is Charcoal Beef. Others include Brick Bread, Cacklebury max, and Brick Bread. Additionally, the value-added products of the retailer are highlighted. A comparison of Sunripe’s packaging strategy with the main competitors, the majority of large supermarkets, is made. In this case, the focus is on Sunripe’s business environment as it is today.


The main problem in this case study is best assessed in light of Sunripe’s growing success in its current product assortment. Willemsen is faced with the challenge of deciding whether he should consider making changes to the current mix of Sunripe’s product offering. Particularly, Willemsen needs to decide whether further changes to the private-label strategy that Sunripe is currently using are necessary.


In light of changing market demands and strategies of competitors, the private-label strategy should be overhauled so that the best brands are repackaged and re-launched in the context of a new marketing campaign. Additionally, more producers need to be engaged in the process of offering customers a larger selection of products. There is also a need for some of Sunripe’s products to be grouped into various categories so that they can be sold under a single brand-name. Such a measure is necessary for purposes of maintaining competitiveness with higher-end supermarkets.

Problem analysis

The private label products account for 16% of the company’s annual sales, which amounts to $1.6 million. Therefore, this segment should not be ignored when changes are being made in the products being offered to Sunripe’s customers. As far as changes in the private-label strategy are needed, various factors need to be considered when the different available steaks are being differentiated. The best thing is to ensure that products available at Sunripe are different from the ones being offered by competitors.

Many stores are starting to switch to counter-ready meat. This meaning of this turn of events is that all the meat has to be cut in a processing plant before being shipped, and prepacked for sale to a supermarket in ‘readiness for the counter’. The main factors that need to be considered include the meat that can produce the best cuts, and aging, whereby beef is aged in order to allow various enzymes to tenderize it. In this regard, the retailer is faced with the task of deciding whether to use the dry-aging or wet aging method. The choice of either method will generate different results.

A decision on either grass-fed or corn-fed been is also crucial if Sunripe is to bring life to its existing brands. This decision is a difficult one to make since it depends to a certain extent on the strategies of competitors. In the past, whole sides of beef had to be purchased from Norwich, the local producer, before being aged for 7 days. The possibility of other producers bringing in a new flavor is yet to be considered.

Additionally, the value-added products on offer at Sunripe made use of as many ripening products as possible. Additionally, instead of plainly packing lemon, orange and apple juices, it may be necessary to perform value-addition tasks such as the use of similar, parity priced items, similar to those that are offered at higher-end supermarkets.

The problem of whether or not to make changes in the private-label strategy adopted by Sunripe arises against the backdrop of Willemsen’s belief from the beginning, that having private label items that are distinctly branded is a necessity for business success. Willemsen also knew that although buyers at the retail outlet were attracted by fresh produce, they would soon start buying the private-label products, which they did.

Within no time, the private label became well known, generating many loyal customers. Nevertheless, Willemsen had to worry about whether any opportunity of leveraging the Sunripe brand using extensions to the value-added and private label products was a viable option. On this basis, he had to worry, for instance, about whether to sell chicken, fish, chicken, beef, packaged salads, and jams using a Sunripe umbrella brand.

The current problem, the case study shows, is brought about by the need to replicate the success that was realized when Sunripe undertook the measure of branding all its fresh chicken under the Cacklebury Max name. All of the fresh chickens that were air-chilled and grain-fed were sold under the brand name Cacklebury Max. Moreover,Cacklebury Max was priced in the say way as the chicken found in higher-end supermarkets.

The issue of higher-end supermarkets brings to the fore the other main reason that made Sunripe consider presenting its brands in a new way: competition. The anticipation of competitors’ actions always makes business owners lay down strategies of maintaining market competitiveness. In Sunripe’s case, one of the best strategies is targeting the higher-end market through the integration of many products ranges under a single brand name.


In terms of the competition dimension, different large supermarkets have been employing different measures of establishing their brands. For instance, Loblaws used different supermarket banners and two distinct brands of the private label variety were sold. At the same supermarket, the President’s Choice brand dominated the private-label products on offer, ranging from bath towels, furniture, cooking utensils, bottled water, and chocolate bars. No wonder the brand entered into the category of premium private labels, whose prices were similar to those of national brands even though the products offered were of much higher quality.

Lastly, the product offering is complicated. Today, one takes a much longer time to determine what exactly he is doing since things are always changing. New brand creation efforts require employees with a commitment to learning, and who are fully dedicated to the effort. Getting such employees is always a problem to any organization of today. The best bet is always on long-term employees, who understand what the customers want, and hate, and who relay such information to the management promptly.


In summary, the problem of Sunripe is typical of many challenges that are faced in the retail sector as far as the task of maintaining brand competitiveness is concerned. Particularly, private-label products are difficult to repackage in today’s competitive market. Sunripe’s main problems involve leveraging brand loyalty while maintain the appeal of the existing products through integration.

There is a need for Sunripe to assess its private label strategy and come up with means of enhancing its products. Branding many products within the same brand name is a fantastic way of maintaining competitiveness with the brands that are being offered by higher-end supermarkets. With a dedicated team of permanent employees, it is possible to replicate the success that was realized when Sunripe undertook the measure of branding all its fresh chicken under the Cacklebury Max name. The Sunripe management also needs to diversify on producers in order to bring life to its brands by providing a wider variety of flavors.


Mark, K. (2007) Sunripe Marketplace: A private Label Strategy, New York: Ivey Management Services.

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