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Reference no. 312-051-1
In 2011 Nespresso, the premium single-serve coffee brand of the multinational Swiss company Nestle, found itself at a crossroads. Between 2006 and 2010 Nespresso had managed to nearly triple sales - from CHF1.16 billion to well over CHF3 billion. But despite its meteoric growth in recent years, competitors were moving to try to challenge Nespresso’s dominance of the premium single-serve coffee market by launching their own single-serve concepts. Some of these competitors had developed capsules compatible with the Nespresso system, and had aggressively pushed into the supermarket channel where Nespresso itself remained completely absent. Nespresso had to understand the degree to which it could sustain its competitive advantage in the premium single-serve coffee market in the face of growing competition, and develop strategies to address the growing threat of competitors who were offering Nespresso compatible capsules. The case helps students to develop a deeper understanding of the concepts of innovation, branding, business system fit, sustainable competitive advantage and responding to low-cost competitors. It is intended for MBA courses in Strategic Management, Innovation and Marketing. It can also be used in executive education programs, for example as part of a competitive strategy program to discuss issues related to strategy, competitive advantage and responding to low-cost rivals. This case has been featured on our website, click to view the article.