Posted: August 2nd, 2022

case

Case Analysis

Description

Business cases are used to help students learn about important concepts and explore the issues, problems, or decision-making situations faced by organizations and managers. The case study should be analyzed individually and will have its own set of questions to be addressed. Read the appropriate materials and prepare a case analysis report in a way that addresses all the questions provided. The case study mentioned below needs to be purchased from the Ivey Publishing website.

Bansal, P., Montgomery, W., & MacMillan, K. (2020). Maple Leaf Foods: Changing the system. Ivey Publishing.

Objectives

· Develop an ability to identify the hidden issues based on a detailed analysis.

· Analyze the issues based on the theoretical concept learnt.

· Provide a recommendation for each issue identified in the case.

· Prepare a coherent report and integrated analysis.

Instructions

In order to complete your case analysis successfully, you should consider

· reading the case two to three times to understand the issues faced by the organization or the protagonist;

· analyzing the issues based on the theoretical concept learnt; and

· providing a recommendation for each issue identified in the case.

Resources: You may like to explore the following resources for learning how to analyze a case and write a Case Analysis report:

· SW Learning. (n.d.). Preparing an effective case analysis.

http://www.swlearning.com/management/hitt/hitt_student/case_analysis.html

· Chandy, K. T. (2004). Case writing guide.

http://bingweb.binghamton.edu/~tchandy/Mgmt411/case_guide.html

· Cengage Learning. (n.d.). Case studies: Overview.

https://college.cengage.com/business/resources/casestudies/students/overview.htm

· Prentice Hall. (n.d.). How to analyze a case study.

http://wps.prenhall.com/bp_laudon_essmis_6/21/5555/142231

2.

cw/content/index.html

· UNB Writing Centre. (n.d.). Case study analysis.

https://www.unb.ca/fredericton/studentservices/_resources/pdfs/wss/casestudyanalysis

You should consider organizing your report as follows:

· introduction (Brief summary of the case – not more than 150 words)

· company background (based on data in the case and from the company’s website; not more than 150 words)

· issue (based on discussion questions provided – Please name the sections appropriately)

· evaluation of Issues

· suggested Alternatives

· conclusions

· recommendations

Other instructions:

· Word Limit: 1500 to 1800 words

· Should use APA format

· Consult your instructor regarding the use of external academic and relevant non-academic references to support your case analysis

Introduction: The case is about ‘The Maple Leaf Foods (MLF)’ which created a vision to change and became a sustainable company by focusing on society and the natural environment. The learning objectives of the case are:

· To describe how vision can drive change in an organization.

· To examine drivers and the need for organizational change.

· To examine the challenges and opportunities related to implementing change

Suggested Case Questions:

· Discuss the key internal and external factors that led to the need for organizational change at Maple Leaf Foods.

· Discuss the significance of organizational vision in guiding the change management efforts at Maple Leaf Foods.

· Discuss the challenges faced by Maple Leaf Foods when implementing organizational change.

Late Submission Policy

· This assignment is subject to the Late Submission penalty policy, namely 5% per day for three days.

· This page will close and will not allow further submissions after this Late Submission period has expired.

· In the event of an emergency situation preventing you from submitting within this time frame, special permission must be obtained from your instructor. Documentation substantiating emergency is required. In such a circumstance, if the extension is granted, the professor will reopen the submission function for you on an individual basis.

· Please do not email your submissions to your professor, either before or after the due date; all coursework should be submitted through the online course (Moodle).

Evaluation

Case Analysis will be marked in its entirety out of 100. The following rubric indicates the criteria students are to adhere to, and their relative weights to the assignment overall.

/20

/15

/10

/10

Activity/Competencies Demonstrated

% of Final Grade

1.

Case Analysis (80%)

a. Provided Company Background

/10

b. Identified the issues, problems or decision dilemma faced by the organization/ protagonist

c. Analyzed the issues, problems or decision dilemma faced by the organization/ protagonist and integrates with the theoretical concepts learnt.

/20

d. Provides suitable alternatives related to the issues, problems or decision dilemma faced by the organization/ protagonist.

e. Provides appropriate recommendation given the case facts and analysis completed

/15

f. Included Introduction and Conclusion

2.

Attention to Detail (20%)

a. Use of relevant facts from the case and other resources (course material, additional readings, etc.)

b. Spellings, grammar, and APA format followed

Total

/100

9B20M174

MAPLE LEAF FOODS: CHANGING THE SYSTEM

Karen MacMillan wrote this teaching note together with Tima Bansal and Wren Montgomery solely to provide material for class
discussion. The authors do not intend to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a managerial situation. The authors may
have disguised certain names and other identifying information to protect confidentiality.

This publication may not be transmitted, photocopied, digitized, or otherwise reproduced in any form or by any means without the
permission of the copyright holder. Reproduction of this material is not covered under authorization by any reproduction rights
organization. To order copies or request permission to reproduce materials, contact Ivey Publishing, Ivey Business School, Western
University, London, Ontario, Canada, N6G 0N1; (t) 519.661.3208; (e) cases@ivey.ca; www.iveycases.com. Our goal is to publish
materials of the highest quality; submit any errata to publishcases@ivey.ca. i1v2e5y5pubs

Copyright © 2020, Ivey Business School Foundation Version: 2020-10-15

Lynda Kuhn, senior vice-president (VP) of Maple Leaf Foods (MLF), took a sip of her coffee as she thought
about the question posed by Michael McCain, the long-time president and chief executive officer (CEO):
“When we think about the impact of the food system on critical environmental and social issues, is this the
absolute best we can do?”

Kuhn and all of the other senior management team seated around the table knew the question was not
merely rhetorical. It was nearing the end of 2019, and McCain wanted to know whether MLF was doing
everything possible to become a sustainable enterprise. Kuhn wasn’t surprised by the question. She had
worked with McCain for more than 15 years, and she knew it was his style to regularly challenge his leaders.

ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL ISSUES IN THE FOOD INDUSTRY

The meat industry was at the epicentre of some of the biggest issues of the time: climate change, resource
depletion, population health, food insecurity, and animal rights. The global food system was responsible
for an estimated 27 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. Global food insecurity was growing, while more
than 40 per cent of adults worldwide were obese. Good food was inequitably and inefficiently distributed,
with more than one-third of the available food in North America being wasted. The food system urgently
needed to transition to become environmentally sustainable, provide enhanced health, and ensure good food
was available for all people.1

MICHAEL MCCAIN

Long-time president and CEO of MLF, McCain was born in New Brunswick to a family that was known
internationally for having built McCain Foods, a global powerhouse that produced frozen French fries and
other foods. He had worked in the family business from a young age, eventually becoming president and
CEO of US operations. In 1995, McCain left the family business, along with his father and brother, and
invested significantly in MLF, a publicly traded company, which gave him a large ownership stake. In
contrast to many organizations that often saw rapid turnover at the senior management level, McCain had
provided strong continuity, remaining at the helm for 25 consecutive years.

1 Michael McCain “Food Safety Systems,” 35th Annual Campden Lecture, accessed November 4, 2019,
www.campdenbri.co.uk/podcasts/global-food-strategy.php.

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Page 2 9B20M174

The most challenging moments of McCain’s leadership came in August 2008, when tragedy struck MLF.
In July of that year, despite extensive sanitation protocols, contamination at one of the company’s meat
processing facilities in Toronto led to an outbreak of listeriosis. 2 Ultimately, thousands of people fell ill,
and tragically, 23 people died. When the contaminated foods were confirmed to have originated from an
MLF facility, McCain initiated a sweeping recall of all products from the plant dating back to January,
temporarily closed the facility to conduct an exhaustive investigation, and immediately took full
responsibility through proactive television spots and news conferences.

McCain expressed sincere pain for the people affected and committed the company to both identifying the
cause of the contamination and becoming a food safety leader to prevent a similar tragedy from ever
happening again. As the details emerged, McCain and his team were repeatedly willing to lead with
information to inform the public. Arguably, the outbreak could have destroyed the public’s trust in the
organization; however, the company’s response restored public trust. The incident, which was a defining
moment for a venerable yet vulnerable institution, had since been discussed in many business schools as a
shining example of the right way to deal with a major organizational and public relations crisis. 3

LYNDA KUHN

Also a long-serving member of the senior leadership team, Kuhn had joined MLF in 2002 as vice-president of
Investor and Public Relations. She was responsible for all aspects of investor, media, employee, and corporate
communications. Her professional and personal experience was rooted in a deep connection to social causes.
After earning a master’s degree in applied anthropology, she spent seven years working in Mi’kmaq
communities in Atlantic Canada to advance bicultural education, health, housing, and economic development
programs. After joining MLF, she had co-founded Nyota, a home for destitute children in Kenya, and had
worked with local educators to create the Wezesha Education Foundation, which provided financial support to
further the education of young people who exhibited high academic potential and leadership capabilities.

In her earlier days at MLF, along with leading communications, she had led the development of
philanthropy, sustainability, and diversity and inclusion strategies. In 2013, McCain asked Kuhn to take the
lead on developing a strategic framework and action plan to embed sustainability into the company’s culture
and business practices. In late 2016, she also became the chair of the Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food
Insecurity. The centre’s goal was to reduce food insecurity in Canada by 50 per cent by 2030 through three
main platforms: (1) advocating for required changes to public policy, (2) funding and co-creating innovative
projects that advanced sustainable food security, and (3) supporting capacity building and knowledge
transfer to increase collaboration among groups focused on advancing food security.

MAPLE LEAF FOODS (MLF)

MLF could trace its lineage back more than 100 years. It had been created through the combination of the
Maple Leaf Milling Company, Purity Flour Mills, and Toronto Elevators. When it joined forces with
Canada Packers in 1991, it became Canada’s largest food processor.

2 “Listeriosis Outbreak Timeline,” CBC News, August 26, 2008, accessed October 30, 2019, www.cbc.ca/news/listeriosis-
outbreak-timeline-1.694467; Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, “Report of the Independent Investigator into the 2008
Listeriosis Outbreak,” news release, last modified July 22, 2009, accessed November 4, 2019,
www.canada.ca/en/news/archive/2009/07/report-independent-investigator-into-2008-listeriosis-outbreak.html.
3 Jeffrey Gandz, Maple Leaf Foods, Inc. (A): The Listeriosis Crisis (London, ON: Ivey Publishing). Available from Ivey
Publishing, product no. 9B11C001.

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Page 3 9B20M174

Historically, MLF had been a diversified and integrated agri-farms, meat, and bakery business. Its
operations included feed production, hog and poultry production, primary and secondary meat processing,
rendering, global trading, and fresh and frozen bakery and pasta products. It ran 12 prepared meat facilities,
two plant protein facilities, two further processed poultry facilities, three hatcheries, six fresh poultry
processing facilities, more than 180 pig barns, two fresh pork processing facilities, and two distribution
centres, and it contracted with more than 500 chicken farmers. 4 MLF’s leading brands included Maple Leaf,
Maple Leaf Prime, Maple Leaf Natural Selections, Schneiders, Country Naturals, Mina, Greenfield Natural
Meat Company, Lightlife, and Field Roast Grain Meat Company. 5

As of 2019, the company had approximately 12,500 employees and conducted business in Canada, the
United States, and Asia. It was a publicly owned company, with shares trading on the Toronto Stock
Exchange (TSX: MFI). Sales in 2018 were almost CA$3.5 billion 6 with net earnings of $101.3 million. Its
2018 adjusted earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation, amortization, restructuring and other
related costs (EBITDA) margin was 9.9 per cent. 7

With the structural rise in the Canadian dollar, which significantly threatened the long-term profitability of
MLF’s currency-exposed businesses, the company divested its non-core meat businesses. Commencing in 2007
and completed in 2014, one of MLF’s major divestments was its stake in the Canada Bread Company Limited.

MLF also invested more than $1 billion in its supply chain and operating systems to consolidate aging
inefficient plants and created a highly cost-competitive prepared-meats manufacturing network. The result
was a significant expansion in MLF’s EBITDA margin and structural profitability, but on a lower revenue
base and a largely Canadian geographic footprint.

It had been many years of exhausting change, but the company now had the resources and focus to
implement a comprehensive approach to sustainability, which McCain believed was deeply important. With
the sale of the bakery business in 2014, employees had been asking what the company stood for and where
it was going as a “pure-play” meat company.

MLF’S SUSTAINABILITY STRATEGY

In 2013, Kuhn was charged with developing and leading the implementation of a sustainability strategy
that would go well beyond conventional corporate social responsibility to become a core part of the
company’s culture. This strategy included advancing nutrition and health, providing leadership in animal
care and environmental sustainability, and making a social impact on the chronic issue of food insecurity
across Canada.

MLF embraced sustainability, and from 2014 through 2017, sustainability increasingly evolved from a
separate strategy to become a core component of the way the company operated its business, invested
capital, and marketed its products. For example, the company became a market leader in raising hogs and
chickens without antibiotics, and this became a key competitive advantage, broadening its sales in the
United States.

4 Maple Leaf Foods, “Media Library,” accessed October 12, 2019, www.mapleleaffoods.com/media-centre/media-library/.
5 Maple Leaf Foods, 2018 Annual Report, 2019, accessed July 17, 2019, www.mapleleaffoods.com/wp-
content/uploads/2019/02/Maple_Leaf_Foods_–_2018_Annual_Report .
6 All currency amounts are in CA$.
7 Maple Leaf Foods, 2018 Annual Report, op. cit.

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Page 4 9B20M174

Reductions in energy, water usage, and waste led to tangible bottom-line savings. Product reformulations
to use only all-natural ingredients had bolstered the company’s flagship Maple Leaf brand. With the
acquisition of US-based Lightlife Foods and the Field Roast Grain Meat Company, MLF became a key
player in the rapidly growing North American plant protein market. The establishment, in late 2016, of the
Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security as a registered charity engaged civil society on advancing
sustainable food security.

MOVING SUSTAINABILITY FROM STRATEGY TO PURPOSE

McCain believed that if sustainability was core to the future of the company, it should be elevated from a
company strategy to the company’s central purpose and vision. The questions took almost two years to
consider. Consultants were hired to analyze the financials of the protein market. The conventional meat
segment was growing at low single digits, although significantly higher levels of growth were being achieved
in market niches such as “sustainable meat,” value-added chicken, and artisanal products. The plant protein
market was just emerging, but all of the signs suggested that consumers were looking for more protein options
and that the market was ripe for innovation and expansion. Further cost savings were also possible through
advancing MLF’s commitment to reduce its environmental footprint by 50 per cent by 2025.

As part of this research, Kuhn, Ratan Swami (VP of Strategy and Transformation), and Tim Faveri (VP
Sustainability and Shared Value) travelled to the United Kingdom to meet with experts in sustainable food
systems to discuss whether it was possible to make a meat company sustainable and what doing so would
require. They met with the World Wildlife Fund, a non-profit organization that focused on wilderness
protection and the reduction of human impact on the environment; the Food Climate Research Network at
Oxford University; and Chatham House, a well-respected think tank, whose mission was to help “build a
sustainably secure, prosperous, and just world.”8

The MLF team contacted major food retailers and culinary leaders, such as Marks & Spencer, the Jamie
Oliver Group, and Sainsbury’s, to discuss where the market was headed and how well the market was
responding. These discussions led to the development of MLF’s Sustainable Meat Principles, which
codified actions to advance social good and reduce environmental impact (see Exhibit 1).

MAKING SUSTAINABILITY AS CORPORATE PURPOSE A REALITY

McCain and Kuhn knew that defining a company purpose and vision would require the input and support
of the company’s employees. MLF’s corporate purpose needed to feel authentic, achievable, and inspiring.
It also needed to connect to the company’s business and commercial strategies.

To see whether this was possible, MLF executives hired consultants to interview more than 30 leaders and
hold focus groups involving more than 300 employees from every function in the company (e.g., supply
chain, poultry, pork, finance, information solutions, sales, marketing, and human resources). The
consultants wanted to see whether the idea of making sustainability the company’s purpose and vision
connected with employees and also how employees could advance this purpose and vision through
initiatives in their functions.

At the end of the process, the conclusion was clear. The members of the senior leadership team were
convinced that this new vision would not only differentiate the company and deeply engage its people but

8 Chatham House, “About Chatham House,” accessed January 12, 2020, www.chathamhouse.org/about.

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Page 5 9B20M174

also provide a path to business growth and shared value creation. The result was the launch of the company
purpose, “To Raise the Good in Food,” and its vision, to “be the most sustainable protein company on
earth.” The long list of 200 initiatives identified in the focus groups were also condensed into 30 strategic
initiatives that comprised the company’s strategic blueprint, shaping how Maple Leaf Foods would “raise
the good in food.”

Kuhn knew from her research that achieving this vision and purpose would be possible through three
approaches. First, products would need to be reconceived to meet pressing societal needs and to focus on
unserved or underserved markets. Second, resources would need to be conserved to reduce both costs and
their environmental impact. And, third, MLF would need to build the available skills, supplier base, and
supporting institutions to boost capacity, innovation, and growth in communities on key social issues.

Although the challenge was immense, Kuhn and her colleagues realized that, to accomplish true
sustainability, they would need to change almost everything about how they ran the company.

THE ABSOLUTE BEST

Back at head office, Kuhn spoke to her colleague Randy Huffman, who now led Sustainability at MLF,
about McCain’s challenge: Is this the absolute best we can do? She had worked closely with Huffman to
further the company’s sustainability goals, and she could tell he was excited about the challenge. He said,
“I think Michael raises a good question. But we have done some amazing things. As you know, just last
month we announced that we are the first major food company in the world to be carbon neutral. We are
truly doing our part to mitigate our impact on climate change.”

Kuhn understood that MLF needed to keep adapting because the frontier of sustainability shifted constantly
as the magnitude of environmental and social challenges escalated. She also wondered whether MLF could
get too far in front, which could cause divisiveness among its stakeholders.

Implementing a vision and living with purpose was filled with daily challenges, and the overall approach
also needed to constantly evolve. McCain was ambitious and cared about doing the right thing, but Kuhn
and Huffman wondered what the right thing was and whether there could be too much of it.

The Ivey Business School gratefully acknowledges the generous support of RBC Foundation in
the development of this case.

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Page 6 9B20M174

EXHIBIT 1: MAPLE LEAF’S SUSTAINABLE MEAT PRINCIPLES

Sustainable meat is produced with respect, within environmental limits, and consumed in
moderation as part of a healthy balanced diet.

• Sustainable meat is nutritious, healthy and safe.
• Sustainable meat is accessible, affordable and eaten in moderation, in balance with other nutrients,

consistent with nutritional guidelines.
• Sustainable meat is produced adhering to environmental standards that measurably reduce impacts

across the lifecycle; limiting greenhouse gas emissions and impacts on water quality and quantity,
avoiding loss of biodiversity and eliminating waste.

• Sustainable meat comes from animals that are raised with care, with minimal use of antibiotics and to
standards that respect the Five Freedoms of animal welfare.

• Sustainable meat is produced through a resilient, fair and efficient food system that makes optimal use
of land and natural resources.

• Sustainable meat is produced by a company that is responsive to the needs of society and transparently
demonstrates our accountability to social and environmental responsibility.

We embrace these principles, recognizing that sustainability is aspirational and evolving. We will measure
ourselves against progress, not perfection.

Source: Company files.

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