"As one of the world’s biggest food retailers, how can we address global health issues to drive long-term growth for our whole business?"

Ahold is a EUR 30 billion retailer operating in Europe and US. Fortitude was asked to help re-focus its strategy around health and link this directly to a 2020 growth strategy.

In addition, we were tasked with aligning the leadership of a multi-brand business around a common language and set of goals.

A $2 trillion opportunity

Our starting point was to vividly bring to life the scale of the health problem (obesity represents over $2 trillion in economic costs globally, mostly caused by poor food) but also the massive opportunity for positive impact and business growth that this represented for our client.

Creating deep insight

We gathered insight across multiple divisions in both Europe and the US., interviewing over 30 senior executives, healthcare and nutrition professionals and policy makers.

We overlaid existing corporate strategy and financial analysis of food categories. This allowed us to focus in on 5 key areas of contention that would have big implications for how the Group and business divisions would need to operate – including areas such as product range and store layout to community engagement and NGO partnerships.

Our job was to both paint a simple, compelling picture of the future, but also to ensure that the ExCo fully appreciated the financial and operational implications and signed-up to the strategic steps needed to get there.

Decisions, dilemmas

We used insights from retail and beyond to break down the different categories and approaches to tackling health.

In working sessions with the client, this helped focus and sharpen potential territories for further exploration, laying out the trade-offs, dilemmas and obligations that the new strategy implied.

This has the potential to positively impact the health of over 50 million families and help reposition this organisation for one of the world’s biggest growth opportunities.

A picture is worth 1,000 words

Fortitude Partners reframed and sharpened each target and created messaging framework to support communication.

To do this, we ran a series of workshops but also showed concepts for how investors, employees, customers and communities would be engaged.


  • CEO and the ExCo aligned on strategy and across geographies

  • Radically sharpened definition of strategy around health through food

  • Understanding of what it will mean to build a company to deliver health.