TO: The Board of Directors of the Stonyfield Yogurt Company.
Hello to my friends in yogurt. I trust and pray that you are enjoying our rainy weather today. It’s come to my attention that your owner, the food conglomerate Danone SA, is putting your company up for sale due to antitrust concerns. A shame—or an opportunity? The choice is yours.
Look into the mirror. Who do you see staring back at you: a business man or woman? “All about the dollar?” Or do you see someone who got into this game because you cared about the yogurt? I see in you what you may have lost sight of yourselves: people whose true allegiance is not to the bottom line, but instead to the absolute quality of a semisolid food made of fermented milk. (Yogurt). It is in this spirit—the spirit of equals—that I come to you today.
The numbers-crunchers say that your company could fetch $900 million on the open market. Me? I don’t crunch numbers. I crunch granola, when it’s mixed in yogurt. Throw caution to the wind, and hand your yogurt company to me. In return, I offer you....
Taste. The taste of yogurt is more important than the numbers in your bank account. Do you know what America’s most valuable yogurt company is? Chobani. Their yogurt tastes like piss. Never forsake taste for prestige.
Savoir Faire. What is it that gives yogurt that certain je nais se quois? It is savoir faire. I bring that to the table—and to the cup of yogurt.
Creaminess. Stonyfield Greek Yogurt is pretty good. Why? Because it is pretty creamy. Imagine now what your company could do with a leader willing to make your greek yogurt even more creamy. Only the sky—or the bottom of the bowl—are the limits.
Walnuts. Ever tried crumbling them up in yogurt? I have. Many times.
Milk. It’s the most important part of what yogurt is made out of. My experience with milk ranges from putting it on cereal to eating other things made from it (cheese, butter) to eating yogurt itself. My research staff has told me that your company manufactures a “yogurt” product by the name of O’Soy which boasts to consumers that “Stonyfield’s Organic O’Soy is a delicious alternative for the lactose-challenged.” Is it? I’ve never had it, and don’t plan to. But I guess if it turns a profit it can stick around.
A picture of a cow. Stonyfield Yogurt Company often uses images of cows in its marketing, in order to evoke in the customer a sense that the yogurt they are consuming (other than the O’Soy brand) had its origin inside the belly of a cow.
I’m not a flashy marketing type. I don’t concern myself with image, nor with hype. What I do concern myself with is yogurt: What is it? How does it taste? And where does it come from? Having delved into this question for many long years, I’ve determined that the answer to all of them is “from a cow.” When I assume control of the Stonyfield Yogurt Company, I will give to you, as a parting gift, a picture of this iconic creature, to keep for your own, to pass on generation to generation in your family, to one day show to your grandchildren and say, “This is what it’s all about.”
A treasured keepsake and powerful marker of a career well spent in the yogurt game.
I will also submit an expense report to Univision to purchase each of you a Stonyfield Yogurt Company sweatshirt suitable for leisure or business situations.
You now face a choice. Money, or the best yogurt that money can buy? The last time I checked you cannot eat money. The choice is clear. Please contact me with details of where you are located and when I can start, and my employee discount.
CEO (pending), Stonyfield Yogurt Company