In the crowded and rapidly changing snacking space, brands need to hold firm to what they stand for to stand out — and also adjust quickly to meet consumer needs. For Mondelez, that state of affairs means reaching beyond its core business and investing in emerging brands through its innovation and venture arm, SnackFutures, as well as creating new fresh concepts to remain ahead of the curve. In this video from NOSH Live Winter 2019 this month, Brigette Wolf, SnackFutures’ head of innovation, and Mel Gaceta, Mondelez’s director of ventures, shared how the CPG giant is addressing the future of snacking.
Mondelez’s strategy, Wolf explained, is based upon solving consumers’ problems, both through invention and reinvention.
“Sometimes we talk about consumers as if they are aliens,” Wolf said. “If you’re a founder you were a consumer — and know it’s personal and passionate.”
To do that, Mondelez is taking a “curious and collaborative” approach, Wolf said, toward feeding those needs and expanding into new parts of the store. Specifically, the eye is on fruits, vegetables and functional food trends; for example, this year Mondelez launched snack brand Dirt Kitchen, using upcycled produce to create convenient, tasty snacks. While Mondelez is historically known for more indulgent treats, it’s hoping to catch consumers’ desires for mind and body wellness via innovative brand ideas, Gaceta noted. Thus, Mondelez invested in gut healthy food brand Uplift Food last year. To understand the mindset of early entrepreneurs, Mondelez studied incubators and startups — noting that utilizing outside resources would help them win.
“We need to leverage all the innovation that’s happening amongst all the founders here of some of the most amazing brands,” Gaceta told the audience. “You guys can do it at a pace and a speed that it’s really hard for us to do in our own internal processes.”