My name is Rickesh Choudhry and I have taken a year out from study to work in 'Health Food Snacks Ltd.', as a marketing advisor. This business was formed over 30 years ago from my father, mother, uncle and aunt on the fact of being concerned about the lack of appetising choices, in local health shops. They were anxious about the amount of healthy snacks going into the different types of generations. I will eventually be a Shareholder and Director of the company and I am concerned about the current trading situation.

Our business provides our health products to health food shops within a 100mile radius and we have a dedicated team of 250 employees. We also provide a wide range of products, such as

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* Bran Plus cereal;

* Bran Plus cereal bar;

* Fruit Plus cereal;

* Fruit Plus cereal bar;

* Nut Plus cereal;

* Nut Plus cereal bar;

* Handy snack packs of dried fruit (bananas, apricots, mixed fruit).

However, the company's profits have fallen over the last two years, not alarmingly, but enough for the directors and myself to realise that a completely new strategy is required to ensure the future stability and growth of the business. As a marketing advisor, I have managed to convince the board of directors that 'Health Food Snacks Ltd.' should become market orientated. I've carried out some very basic research and have made the following observations: -

* Only people who want specific health foods or remedies generally visit health food shops.

* There has been an increase in "healthy" snacks and cereals in supermarkets.

* They are targeted at the "already health-conscious."

* The highest "snackers" are the 16-24-year-old markets, who tend to miss at least one meal per day and snack mostly on chocolates and crisps.

* Such foods provide a quick fix of energy only, as they are usually high in calories/fat and provide little in the way of daily-recommended requirements.

* Young people tend to follow fashion trends and may be influenced by marketing.

Investment over the last few years has been high, which shows a good sign, but there is a lot of room for improvement. Production and packaging are fully automated, but only operating at 75% capacity on one shift per day, five days per week and not at our 100% potential (this may partly explain why our profits have fallen over the past two years, but at a slow rate). The products are sold to health food shops throughout the UK and by mail order through health food magazines. There is no current marketing strategy. Marketing is considered to be advertising, which is only done for the mail order business and is booked by the sales manager. There are three sales representatives who are based in the north, south and central regions.

My product will be aimed at teenagers mainly, but it is also open to adults or even young kids who find that they are regularly missing meals, and are eating too many unhealthy meals. I want to create a product, which will be healthy, and one that will contribute to a balanced diet.

Rickesh Choudhry

Secondary Research

I have carried out some secondary research to investigate the business environment and its influences on the market.

It is very important that an organization considers its environment before beginning the marketing process. In fact, environmental analysis should be continuous and feed all aspects of planning. The organization's marketing environment is made up from:

- The internal environment e.g. staff (or internal customers), office technology, wages and finance, etc.

- The micro-environment e.g. our external customers, agents and distributors, suppliers, our competitors, etc.

- The macro-environment e.g. Political (and legal) forces, Economic forces, Sociocultural forces and Technological forces. These are known as PEST factors.

Pest Analysis:

Political Factors

"The political arena has a huge influence upon the regulation of businesses, and spending power of consumers and other businesses". 'Health Food Snacks Ltd.' has a stable political environment, as it was formed over 30 years ago, and provides health products to shops within a 100mile radius. The government's policy on the economy is to illuminate illnesses and encourage healthy foods to the highest "snackers".

Economic Factors

"Marketers need to consider the state of a trading economy in the short and long-terms. This is especially vital when planning for international marketing". As the company's profits have fallen over the last two years, it needs to take interest rates into consideration. 'Health Food Snacks Ltd.' needs to look at long-term prospects and invent a product, which can increase profit maximisation as well as interest rates. If the economy then starts to 'boom' then consumers will buy healthier products.

Sociocultural Factors

"The social and cultural influences on business vary from country to country". As 'Health Food Snacks Ltd.' is set-up in England, there is no dominant religion that will impact upon the diffusion of products onto markets. If the health products were to be sold international then different attitudes could be expressed. The company has to adapt to the following:

- How much time do consumers have for leisure? (To keep fit and healthy)

- What are the roles of men and women within society? (Are they treated equally)

- How long are the population living? (Is the outcome maybe low, due to unhealthy eating)

- Are the older generations wealthy? (To afford the right types of foods)

- Does the population have a strong opinion on green issues? (Are they willing to try out some new health products)