Ilan Brat writes that the launch of a lighter version of Vegemite -- a salty brown yeast spread favored by Australians -- is a perfect window into the ways CEO Irene Rosenfeld has changed the culture
The salient point is that she had almost nothing to do with it; the idea for the product percolated up from regional managers of the brand and succeeded because of
Rosenfeld's efforts to decentralize decision-making.
Before it even had a name, Kraft had sold more than 2.8 million jars of the new product in Australia and New Zealand in a
two-month span this summer (or should we say this winter?). Following a contest, it's now called Vegemite iSnack 2.0.
Vegemite, which is high in B vitamins and daubed on bread and
crackers, has been a popular breakfast food down under for 80 years but sales have flattened among younger consumers. It's said to be an acquired taste. Jingles declared that Vegemite "puts a
rose in every cheek," but the advertising is not to be confused with Vitameatavegimin, the fictitious brand peddled by Lucy Ricardo in a classic "I Love Lucy" routine
The U.K. Takeover Panel, meanwhile, is giving Kraft until Nov. 9 to either submit a formal offer for
Cadbury or to end its interest. Kraft would be barred from making another takeover proposal for the U.K. candy-maker for six months if it does not make a bid within the time period, Andrew Cleary reports