Choc full of value – and taste

    Mark Stananought

    There are huge movements in consumer spending and preferences happening now as a consequence of the cost-of-living crisis. How do you see the position of the impulse channel changing within this? 

    66 per cent of adults consume a snack every day[i], and in these challenging times, consumers are increasingly looking for value from their snacking choices, as well as looking to brands they know and can depend on to deliver great taste. Trends in consumer spending and preferences suggest that consumers are increasingly shopping little, often, and locally. This change in behaviour signals new opportunities for retailers that they should accommodate for.

    Mondelez is an essential convenience channel player – could you talk us through your brands?

    We have a number of iconic brands across several categories – Cadbury is the nation’s favourite chocolate brand,[ii] while OREO is the world’s number one biscuit[iii] brand, and Maynards Bassetts is a heritage consumer favourite in sugar confectionery. Across all these categories, we offer a wide range of snacking options for consumers, with a purpose to “offer the right snack, for the right moment”.

    Choc full of value – and taste

    Recently Mondelēz International unveiled a huge Christmas range, including some stunning new skus and even an Advent chocolate bar. Is Christmas becoming more of an annual sales tent-pole, and how can we make it (and festivals more generally), more important for independent retailers?

    Christmas can be the most magical time of year for retailers’ seasonal sales; it plays a key role in shaping consumer shopping trends and occasions. What’s more, recent research has shown that shoppers tend to be more impulsive in the run-up to Christmas[iv], so it’s a great opportunity for independent retailers. They can make the most of the occasion with Mondelēz shopper favourites such as Cadbury, OREO, Toblerone and Green & Blacks – a range which leads the market with the #1 SKU in seven sub-categories. All of these, such as seasonal sharing, Advent calendars, selection boxes and tree decorations provide lots of potential for independent retailers to go bigger with their Christmas plans.

    It’s also important for retailers to keep in mind the consumer mindset and timings to maximise their sales. As early as September, grocers should cater for the increase in “Big Night In” sharing occasions with sharing packs, multipacks and block formats. In October, many will be looking out for self-treat and sharing novelties, such as the brand-new Cadbury Mini Snow Balls 110g Bar, which sees the ultimate combination of the nation’s #1 sharing novelty treat together with Cadbury’s iconic heartland bar format. By November, shoppers will start to begin preparations for the festive season with the purchase of Advent calendars and tree decorations. Finally, as we enter December and the big day approaches, retailers can deliver real Christmas magic by stocking up on larger gifting and sharing formats such as the brand new Cadbury Chunk Collection. The collection includes individually wrapped delicious chunks of various Cadbury chocolate, including Cadbury White, Cadbury Dairy Milk, and Cadbury Dairy Milk Wholenut. The Chunk Collection is available in a 243G Carton format, with an eye-catching design that is sure to stand out on shelf.

    Consumers are cutting loyalty to certain brands as prices rise and sticking with others – how do you explain the Cadbury’s “sweet spot” that keeps customers coming back? 

    Taste is a real proof point for Cadbury. Value for money is even more crucial as shoppers look for low-cost, familiar treats during these challenging times. Heritage, household-name brands like Cadbury are well-positioned to offer just this with a range of tasty treats at varying price points for the consumer.

    Choc full of value – and taste

    Oreo limited editions and flavours seems to be transforming the brand from a staple to a celebration sku – what are your plans for the biscuit in 2023 and beyond – and does product customisation appeal across the Mondelēz International stable, or are other more traditional and artisan brands, such as LU, better off trading on their heritage? 

    As the world’s number one biscuit[v] brand, OREO is a staple in the biscuit aisle and enjoyed in more than 100 countries. In the UK, OREO Original Cookies are growing by 21 per cent[vi], with a loyal customer base. Playfulness is at the core of the OREO identity, and the brand continues to bring innovative and exciting partnerships and flavours to the market.

    It’s not just OREO that is getting creative with product customisation – across the wider Mondelez International range, new innovations are being launched every single year.

    Please explain the process of introducing a pretty much unknown foreign brand such as LU into the UK market. 

    LU’s story begins in 1886 when the brand’s founders brought together their shared passion for baking and their desire to make the most delicious biscuits to become one of the greatest success stories in French food history, growing from a small family operation to a market leader. LU’s range is full of special treats made with high-quality ingredients, which have been a hit with biscuit lovers in the UK. We noticed a gap in the market for such a proposition and, following extensive research, we launched four varieties in the UK market based on what we believed would most appeal to consumers across the nation.

    The launch of LU followed the huge success of launching Cadbury Caramilk to the UK market in 2021. An established favourite in Australia, Cadbury Caramilk was our biggest launch of last year and our best-ever confectionery launch.

    Choc full of value – and taste

    How is Mondelēz positioned for the new HFSS rules? How far do you see non-HFSS products as specifically promotable? 

    We recognise we have a shared responsibility to help address public health concerns, and we seek to provide consumers with more informed choices when it comes to snacking mindfully and managing their overall diet. We focus our efforts on proven drivers of impact – including portion control, innovation and reformulation where feasible, consumer awareness, education, and labelling at the point of purchase and consumption.

    We’ve got a strong track record of developing our packaging and products to help consumers make healthier, informed choices. Earlier this year, we trialled a new QR code feature on our packaging that, once scanned, provided consumers with helpful wellbeing information. Additionally, our new Twist Wrap packaging on our Duos portfolio enables consumers to twist to seal and save half for later for better portion control and more mindful snacking – the first of its kind for a UK chocolate brand. In 2019, we pledged to bring 100 per cent of our products typically bought by parents for children to under 100 calories, and in 2020, we pledged to bring all our Cadbury chocolate bars sold as part of a multipack to under 200 calories.

    Our work on non-HFSS innovations spans across all our categories and we recently launched several non-HFSS options in the biscuit and confectionery categories. These include belVita Fruit Crunch, in Raisin & Currant and Apple & Pear flavours, and also belVita Soft Bakes Filled Apricot. In confectionery, brand-new Juicies joined the ranges of Maynards Bassetts and The Natural Confectionery Co. The sweets all contain real fruit juice and 30 per cent less sugar than the standard equivalents, so they’re perfect for shoppers seeking more natural ways to enjoy their sweets.

    Choc full of value – and taste

    It looks as if sustainability is going to be the watchword for 2023 and Mondelēz seems to be very foot-forward with it, in terms of linking QR codes and wellbeing info etc. What is the strategy and how does sustainability play a role in Mondelēz brands?

    At Mondelēz International our approach is led by clear, science-based targets. This includes reducing our carbon footprint within our own operations and also through our own method of sustainable sourcing. In the UK, six of our production sites now use 100 per cent renewable electricity, including our iconic Bournville factory. This transition means that we can offset the equivalent of 2,900 people’s annual CO2 emissions[vii].

    We’re also proud to have made significant developments in our packaging. As a part of our Pack Light and Pack Right strategy, Dairylea and Philadelphia products are now produced using recyclable packaging. Additionally, our seasonal sharing bags this year will contain less plastic than the year before, while maintaining the same weight point.

    As part of a broader global business goal to reduce the use of virgin plastic material in our overall plastic packaging portfolio by 5 per cent by 2025, just this month we announced that our iconic Cadbury Dairy Milk and Cadbury Mini Snowballs 110g sharing bars made in Bournville now include 30 per cent certified recycled plastic within their packaging. This is a world-first for Cadbury.

    Ethical chocolate is also a big topic right now. Can you explain how Mondelēz is working towards better conditions for workers (as detailed in your Human Rights Due Diligence report)? 

    All the cocoa in Cadbury confectionery products is sustainably sourced through the Cocoa Life programme, partnering with Fairtrade foundation. Cocoa Life is a long-term programme to create a strong cocoa supply chain whilst transforming the lives and livelihoods of farmers and their communities in six key cocoa-growing origins―Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Indonesia, India, the Dominican Republic and Brazil.

    Choc full of value – and taste

    Confectionery is always active in terms of NPD and Caramilk was a roaring success – do you have any more plans for introducing foreign or retro skus?  

    Cadbury Puds made a much-anticipated return last year and were quickly a huge hit with shoppers, becoming the season’s #1 NPD[viii]. We’re pleased that they will be returning this year, helping boost retailers’ sales by catering to the consumer appetite for retro SKUs.

    As I mentioned, we’re also excited by the potential of LU in the UK market following initial strong consumer appeal.

    What is Mondelēz’s position in UK retail, how does it see itself as a company and what does it want to do in the future? 

    We see ourselves as the snacking experts – our mission is to deliver the right snack, for the right moment, made in the right way. We want to help retailers make the most of the growing snacking opportunity and be a supportive, sustainable supplier to the convenience channel.

    What kind of boost does Diwali give to your sales and how do you go about making the most of it?

    Diwali is a time for families and communities to get together and show gratitude to those they love and care for. Boxed chocolates are the most common format bought during the festival, so retailers can stock up on products such as Cadbury Milk Tray to help meet shoppers’ needs. Gifting and sharing confectionery sales are growing +22 per cent[ix] in Independent and Symbol stores, so retailers should make the most of the occasion.

    Do you have a Diwali message for our readers? 

    Mondelēz International would like to wish all readers a happy Diwali. Enjoy gathering with your family and friends on this special occasion!

    [i] State of Snacking Report 2020

    [ii] Nielsen, FY, 2021

    [iii] Source Euromonitor International Limited; Packaged Food 2021 Edition: Sweet Biscuits category definition,  per cent brand share, retail value sales, RSP, 2020 data. Kantar MAT data up to 16th May

    [iv] Lumina Intelligence Convenience Tracking Programme January 2022

    [v] Source Euromonitor International Limited; Packaged Food 2021 Edition: Sweet Biscuits category definition,  per cent brand share, retail value sales, RSP, 2020 data. Kantar MAT data up to 16th May

    [vi] Nielsen YTD to w/e 16.04.2022

    [vii] The UK had emissions of around 7 tCO2e per person in 2018”- P24

    [viii] Nielsen value sales, inc discounters. W.e. 01.01.21

    [ix] Nielsen, Independent and Symbol Stores, YTD 19.06.2021


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