Sustainable Business Model Examples Across the Food Value Chain

Sustainable Business Model Examples Across the Food Value Chain

by Dr Vijayender Nalla. Content Director and Founder at Agirbusiness Academy

It is commonly believed that positioning within the value chain does matter not only in the ability to create and deliver value but also ability to influence/align other chain partners.

In this context, most businesses and experts believe that further downstream you operate the more the ability to influence. However, we have witnessed successful and influential businesses along the entire food value chain.

Let’s look at some practical examples:

Looije Tomaten

The case of Looije Tomaten ( demonstrates that fresh produce growers can help themselves a great deal if they have a market approach.

Looije set-out to reduce their dependency on the downstream players and created a brand called “Honingtomaten” which commands up to 300% of price premium compared to their closest competitor products. “Honingtomaten” is grown, treated, sorted, packaged, distributed differently to provide it a different positioning and enables Looije to achieve their grand purpose ( to touch people’s hearts)

Ella's Kitchen

Ella’s Kitchen ( demonstrate that clarity and conviction on the market side does make it possible to build a likeable brand and beat the more established players in that category.

By having a market perspective they invested in creating and delivering right solutions to their target consumers while their counterparts were busy fulfilling private label needs of their downstream partners

Whole Foods

Rather well known story of ‘’Whole foods” ( does the magic on the retail side.


Yes indeed, each of the above three businesses carry out different operations, possess different value chains and might have different target consumer segments.

However, each one of them have chosen a category (Looije operating in the fresh & healthy snack category, Ella’s Kitchen operating in organic baby food category and Whole Foods starting as a specialty organic retailer), understood their target consumers better which has helped them out-innovate their competition.

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