Litehouse Foods: The Glass Dilemma
This case focuses on whether Litehouse Foods should switch its signature creamy salad dressings from glass to plastic packaging. The central figure in the case is Doug Hawkins Jr., the company's Senior Business Development Manager (Marketing lead). The company, which is one of three major players nationally in the refrigerated salad dressing market, has been selling its dressings in glass jars for 50 years, and these glass jars are considered an important element in how consumers think about the Litehouse brand. Two of Litehouse Foods' competitors have recently switched to plastic, however, and this has helped them achieve a significant price advantage over Litehouse at retail. Switching to plastic jars would save Litehouse $1.5 million/year and allow it to narrow the price advantage opened up by competitors. Doug must develop a recommendation to the company's executive committee that considers the cost savings potential of plastic against the value of the glass packaging to the brand. Complicating this decision are the environmental implications of a switch from glass to plastic, both real and perceived, as well as how a change at this time would mesh with the company's recently launched growth strategy.