Back to the Roots
Back to the Roots (BTTR) is a start-up with a social mission to "undo food"-to reconnect people to where their food comes from. In late 2017, Back to the Roots cofounders Nikhil Arora and Alex Velez were contemplating their next move. The company had an eclectic portfolio of products, including ready-to-grow products, which included gardens in a can, and ready-to-eat products, which included cereals, and was being courted by two major players in each category. With an award-winning cereal-based snack bar in their hands, the duo was debating whether they should delve further into the ready-to-eat category. But it was a competitive space. They wondered whether they were ready to launch yet another new product and, if so, what this move would mean for their ready-to-grow product line. Which path would enable them to best achieve their growth goals? This case provides a vehicle to teach a variety of marketing topics, including mission-driven marketing and branding, new product introduction, and product line extensions. First and foremost, the case allows students to contrast traditional marketing strategy with novel approaches that capitalize on recent shifts in consumer culture. In so doing, the case allows students to identify some of the risks and rewards of such a strategy. The case also prompts students to consider the benefits and risks of extending product lines, the strategic roles of new product introduction, and the importance of defining a firm's core business. The case can be used with undergraduates, MBA students, and executives. It can be used in survey marketing courses, as well as in more specialized courses, including marketing management, brand management, and entrepreneurial marketing.