Title: Building competitive advantage through innovation: a case study from the food industry

Authors: Alexia Mary Tzortzaki; Kostas Tsourdalakis

Addresses: School of Management and Economics, Technological Educational Institute of Crete, Estavromenos, 71004, Heraklion, Crete, Greece; School of Social Sciences Hellenic Open University, Greece ' Creta Farms SA, 15th km Rethymno-Heraklion Highway, Latzimas, Rethymno, 74100, Crete, Greece

Abstract: Differentiation is regarded as one of the main strategies for establishing the uniqueness of a company within its industry. Nevertheless, no matter how innovative a company is, rapid and unexpected changes in the environment can be a cause of significant risk and uncertainty. To explore the determinants of the success for such a competitive strategy, this paper will focus on the case of Creta Farms, a leading Greek meat manufacturing company. The company is considered to be a showcase in the Greek food industry since in a market that shows less than 4% growth the company has managed to grow tenfold within a period of ten years and has recently expanded its operations to the USA. One of the main conclusions stemming from the analysis of this study is the important contribution of an effective value chain to diffusing the risk involved in pursuing an innovation-based competitive strategy. Within the limits of a case study, this paper suggests implications for managers of manufacturing companies and poses significant questions helping to open new avenues for further research.

Keywords: competitive advantage; Greece; Creta Farms; food industry; meat manufacturing; innovation; value chain; differentiation strategy; risk diffusion.

DOI: 10.1504/IJDSRM.2014.068155

International Journal of Decision Sciences, Risk and Management, 2014 Vol.5 No.4, pp.350 - 375

Received: 08 Jul 2014
Accepted: 27 Oct 2014

Published online: 18 Mar 2015 *

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