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The Carrot Duopoly
Bolthouse and Grimmway Farms control over 80% of the carrot market in the US. The CEO of Bolthouse, a former Coke executive, is used to selling sugar water and fairy dust. So when sales of the more profitable baby carrots started declining in the recession, he pulled out a few tricks from his Coke days.
Staffers had watched suburban moms unpack their groceries and studied where kids looked for snacks when they got home from school. Kids seldom went to the refrigerator; instead, they went straight for the cupboards or the pantry. If they did go to the fridge, baby carrots were at least visible, out on a shelf. Full-size carrots, though, always went in the vegetable drawer. “The drawer of death,” one kid called it. Adults weren’t particularly fond of the vegetable drawer either. They tended to associate it with all the vegetables they buy and forget, and then discover weeks later, limp and leaking. A strategy began to emerge. Let regular carrots be the vegetable.
“Everyone else pitched baby carrots as an antidote to junk food,” Dunn says. “Where Crispin came out was almost the exact opposite. We want to be junk food.”