Case | HBS Case Collection | March 2012 (Revised October 2012)

Gary Hirshberg and Stonyfield Farm

by Nancy F. Koehn, Nora N. Khan and Elizabeth W. Legris

Abstract

Gary Hirshberg and Stonyfield Farm is the story of one entrepreneur's vision and journey to create a market-leading, environmentally responsible business founded on the principles of product quality, organizational alignment, and sustainability. A former environmental activist, Hirshberg built Stonyfield Farm (an organic yogurt maker based in New Hampshire) up from a seven-cow operation into a business that in 2010 had $360 million in annual revenues. The narrative pays particular attention to the early, turbulent years of the yogurt company and the excitement and uncertainty of entrepreneurial life. The case also details the supple, innovative marketing the company created to expand its customer base, the means it devised to cultivate and maintain customer loyalty, and the strategies it employed to penetrate the highly competitive yogurt and dairy categories nationwide. Throughout, readers will encounter the challenges that Hirshberg, his colleagues, and his family confronted as they all worked to create a business with a firm commitment to both sustainability and high quality—a commitment rooted in Hirshberg's dedication to spreading the "gospel" of organic production to consumers.

Keywords: entrepreneurship; entrepreneurs; values; development stage enterprises; innovation; management by objective; experimentation; emerging technologies; Mission and Purpose; Management Style; Values and Beliefs; Social Issues; Organizational Culture; Environmental Sustainability; Business Growth and Maturation; Entrepreneurship; Business Startups; Innovation and Invention; Food and Beverage Industry; New Hampshire;

Citation:

Koehn, Nancy F., Nora N. Khan, and Elizabeth W. Legris. "Gary Hirshberg and Stonyfield Farm." Harvard Business School Case 312-122, March 2012. (Revised October 2012.)