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Finding uncontested markets for European fruit and vegetables through applying the Blue Ocean Strategy

Emiel F.M. Wubben (Management Studies, Social Sciences Group, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands)
Simon Düsseldorf (International Center for Food Chain and Network Research, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany)
Maarten H. Batterink (Significant Consultancy and Research, Barneveld, The Netherlands)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 10 February 2012




The purpose of this paper is to discover an uncontested market space in the European fruit and vegetables industry (EFVI), and thereby assess the ex‐ante applicability of the Blue Ocean Strategy of Kim and Mauborgne.


The search for an untapped market space made it necessary to first configure the logic of the Blue Ocean Strategy, which the authors coined the BOS‐framework. Next, the application to the EFVI required a two‐stage research strategy, namely desk research with six case studies, and a large survey.


The findings confirm that the Blue Ocean Strategy‐framework enables one to identify ex ante an untapped market space, characterized by the combination of sweeties' attributes with fresh fruit. The revolutionary untapped market space which the authors arrived at is “Youngfruit”, targeted at the new buyer group children and teenagers.


The research provides important insights in future key success factors to set oneself apart from competitors and change the rules of the game in the very competitive EFVI. Furthermore, this paper is (one of) the first to assess empirically the qualities and limitations of the Blue Ocean Strategy.



Wubben, E.F.M., Düsseldorf, S. and Batterink, M.H. (2012), "Finding uncontested markets for European fruit and vegetables through applying the Blue Ocean Strategy", British Food Journal, Vol. 114 No. 2, pp. 248-271.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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