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The Kellogg team developed a strategy to give Nestlé an edge over competitors vying for the increasingly lucrative designer-foods market.

The Kellogg team developed a strategy to give Nestlé an edge over competitors vying for the increasingly lucrative designer-foods market.

Kellogg students win war-game competition

The 11-member team claims an ‘unprecedented’ fourth victory in the annual Fuld & Company event

By Kristina Cowan

4/27/2011 - Kellogg students representing Nestlé Health Science defeated three other business schools and earned the top prize at an April 8 public war-game competition focused on the designer-foods industry.

During a public war game, students work through analytical exercises to offer companies strategies for achieving competitive advantage in the marketplace. This marks Kellogg’s fourth year participating — and fourth win in the competition, which is sponsored and facilitated by Fuld & Co., a research and consulting firm specializing in business and competitive intelligence.

“This is unprecedented and Kellogg has now surpassed MIT in the number of Fuld & Company national championships it has won,” said Leonard Fuld, president of the company.

A team of 11 Kellogg students developed a strategy to give Nestlé an edge over competitors vying for the increasingly lucrative designer-foods market, also known as “nutraceuticals,” a term that refers to nutritionally enhanced foods and beverages. The team won $5,000, which members will share, and it beat the Yale School of Management, representing Abbott Nutrition; MIT’s Sloan School of Management, representing GlaxoSmithKline; and Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, representing Danone.

Co-leader Tina Mehta ’12 said the Kellogg team suggested Nestlé invest more in developing its nutritional/high science division, and that it leverage its core competencies — taste expertise and consumer appeal, economies of scale around production and distribution, and ability to customize to local preferences — and then take the investments to market. Investments would include growing the nutritional/high science companies Nestlé already owns, and finding new companies to acquire or with which to partner.

The competition showed that both consumer-packaged-goods (CPG) and pharmaceutical companies have advantages and disadvantages in the nutraceuticals market, according to Mehta. “We’ll probably be seeing more CPG and pharmaceutical companies partner on some level in order to compensate for their weaknesses and more effectively bring nutraceutical products to market,” she explained.

Key to Kellogg’s win, Mehta said, was that “we did a lot more preparation for each company than the other teams did. We had each company’s strategy already prepared for the day of the competition, which allowed us to quickly put together our final presentation during the break-out session and to poke more holes in the other teams’ strategies.”

Other team members included co-leader Elliot Freeman ’12, Kathy Ho ’12, Joyce Li ’12, Yating Yu ’12, Quhan Zhuomei ’12, Marissa Heller ’12, Matthew Brown ’12, Lindsay Clayton ’12, Lisa Hotran ’12 and Katie Chew ’12.