Mark Stananought, Impulse Sales Director, Mondelez, tells George Simpson one of the great things about his job is looking after some of the nation’s most beloved brands.

Mark Stananought joined Mondelez 19 years ago from P&G. Originally an account manager on the Spar account, he then worked in different channels, initially in planning and customer facing jobs. He spent time in China, India and South East Asia, worked in the grocery channel and is now the Impulse Sales Director.
“One of the great things about my job is it is so diverse,” Stananought tells Asian Trader. “I spend a lot of time talking to category teams at Mondelez, then going out into the trade listening to customers, finding out what is working and what is not working, then bringing those insights back to our business which helps to strengthen our plans.”
As Impulse Sales Director Stananought is responsible for field sales, ensuring his team gets what they need to be successful. “I am making sure category growth opportunities are an important part of our strategy,” he adds.
Defining snacks in the broadest possible way, the overall snacking market is worth £47.6bn and is growing 4%. “UK consumers are choosing snacks because their lives are busier,” Stananought comments. “There are different ways to eat and drink now. People are not having three meals a day so much but instead are snacking more. Snacking is evolving but one thing that remains true is that taste remains the number one driver.”
Drilling down within the snacking market, chocolate is worth £3.8bn and is growing 2.4% which Stananought calls “good solid growth, driven by premiumisation.”
“When someone decides to have a treat they pay more to get what they want,” Stananought adds. “It could be about excitement and treating.”
Candy is worth £1.2bn and is growing 0.4%. Independents and symbols represent 17% of the total candy market.
Growth is being driven by new product development like big pot formats or new tastes like sugar free.
“We want to be adding value to the total market,” says Stananought. “We have got some of the biggest brands in candy like Maynards Bassetts and Trebor in the mint refreshment sector.
Mondelez has also introduced new product development into the mint market such as its relaunched sugar free mint. The company also supplies Halls, the relief candy brand which brings “real benefits around relief and soothing” according to Stananought.
Biscuits are worth £2.4bn and are growing 3.4% across the key sectors of sweet, healthy and savoury. Over 6.8% of biscuits are sold through independents and are in solid growth.
“Wellbeing, treats and munching are driving growth,” Stananought comments. “Consumers are happy to spend more for a special treat.”
Mondelez has been a driver of the breakfast biscuits sector, producing Belvita, the number one breakfast biscuit brand.
The company has a 33.3% share of the chocolate market and has helped sustain this share by introducing new products such as Cadbury Dairy Milk with Oreo sandwich.
In biscuits the company is number two with a 10% share.
It is also the largest candy manufacturer with a 17% share.
“The biggest challenges we have result from the amount of change in consumer trends and in the retail landscape,” comments Stananought. “There is a change in the way people are living their lives through the online marketplace.”
Mondelez is focused on growing the marketplace to understand the shopper and consumer, investing in its portfolio through TV, radio, press, online, digital and POS for our retail partners.
“One of the great things about my job is brands,” Stananought declares. “We take seriously our role as guardians of some of the country’s favourite brands.” Some of the company’s brands like Bassett, Trebor and Cadbury, the UK’s biggest chocolate brand, are 100 years old, while Belvita is only 10 years old.
Support
“As market leader we have a responsibility to be driving growth across the category,” comments Stananought. “We are focused on understanding the consumer and shopper.”
Mondelez is supporting its brands heavily through activations, TV, online, digital, in-store promotions and displays. The firm partners with retailers such as for its sponsorship of the Premier League. As well as branded support, Mondelez has invested over £200m in research and development to improve the quality of its products.
“The independent retail channel is extremely important to Mondelez,” Stananought emphasises. The firm works with retailers and wholesalers through a large in-house field sales team who give advice to retailers to grow their sales through ranging and overall category advice. The team in Bournville have the expertise, and category advice is also available on deliciousdisplay.co.uk, a website through which retailers can ask questions to virtual rep Dave. The site has been recognised as best in class by HIM.
Over 200 people are in the field sales team, one of the largest sales forces in the UK. Retailers receive roughly a once a month visit from the team, who aim to help retailers grow in their understanding of consumers and shoppers.
Price marked packs are an important part of Mondelez’s offer to retailers. “Retailers want to demonstrate value and PMPs reassure shoppers they are getting value,” Stananought elaborates. “PMPs make it easy for shoppers because they don’t have to ask the price. They help retailers build convenience and trust.” Mondelez already provides a broad range of PMPs but will be extending the range next year.
Mondelez has a dedicated team of key account managers who provide category advice and recommendations to help retailers to improve their sales. The company has worked with Parfetts, for example on layout and fixtures to identify the opportunities. “It is a challenging environment,” Stananought comments. “We want to work with wholesalers to develop the channel to meet the changing needs of suppliers, wholesalers and retailers.”
“We appreciate how busy retailers are,” Stananought adds. “It is challenging for them to be experts in so many areas. I would encourage retailers to focus on the basics, using point of sale material to focus on a range that covers all need states.”
NPD
This year, Mondelez has had a ‘new news’ opportunity around premiumisation, launching its first ever Green & Black singles. Two variants are available: Truffle and Praline, both of which are encased in a smooth dark chocolate shell. They are ethically sourced, containing the finest ingredients, with no artificial flavours.
The firm has also launched Cadbury Boost plus protein, which contains 12g of protein, with 32% less sugar than a standard Boost bar. With no compromise on taste, the bar contains the same Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate but combined with protein.
In August Mondelez launched Joyfills, a convenient bitesize treat. With every bite containing just 1g, Cadbury and Oreo Joyfills variants are available. “It is a great taste filled with ultra smooth cream,” Stananought adds. “The brand has had a great start.”
Mondelez is also investing in its partnership with the Premier League, running two further promotions in the second half of the season. In the summer the company invited the nation to “go madbury for Cadbury”. Consumers were given consumers a huge range of ingredients from which they could create their own chocolate bar. The top three bars will be launched to the market in 2019.
From January 1 the Creme Egg hunting season will begin again, with Mondelez giving consumers the chance to win £10,000. Retailers can win £1,000 if a consumer finds a white cream egg in their store.
Cadbury Dark Milk is a new product, aimed at slightly older consumers who find milk chocolate too sweet but dark chocolate too bitter. Available in tablet and single formats, Cadbury Dark Milk is benefitting from a £6m above the line investment.
As the UK’s largest chocolate manufacturer, Stananought recognises Mondelez has a responsibility to adress concerns over health. The company was a pioneer of the GDA labelling scheme which helps consumers make informed choices and a new improved version of the scheme will be available. In partnership with other confectionery manufacturers, Mondelez has supported Be Treatwise.
“Confectionery can be legitimately consumed as part of an active lifstyle,” Stananought comments. A Cadbury Dairy Milk bar with 30% less sugar will be launched next year. “People don’t want to compromise on taste,” he adds. Mondelez scientists have been working for two years to bring the same Cadbury Dairy Milk taste but with 30% less sugar and without increasing calories.
Ritz crackers are now available with 70% less saturated fat which is another step on the journey to reduce saturated fat by 2020.
With such a broad range of big brands, Stananought is not sure there is such a thing as a typical Mondelez consumer. “We are helping retailers grow sales by having the best selling core lines,” he says. Consumers have a long standing emotional bond with Bassett’s and Trebor, while Belvita is part of an afternoon break or part of a busy morning for many consumers.
“We are really fortunate to be working with great brands which are loved by British consumers,” he adds. After recently meeting Dominic Cadbury, Stananought was inspired to hear the history of the chocolate business.
“It is a privilege to play my part,” he says. “When my time comes to an end I want to hand over to the next generation with the business in great shape. Hundreds of people are working at working at Mondelez to provide shoppers with the right products in the right way. I want to help grow the category for customers and retailers.”