Mondelēz Establishes New Innovation Hub, With Goal of Being the World's Largest Snack Provider

OREO cookies

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Mondelēz International is determined to be the biggest name in snacks with the establishment of the company's new innovation hub, SnackFutures.

SnackFutures is a small team tasked with developing new, trendy brands, revamping existing Mondelēz brands and partnering with startups that are already capitalizing on new trends, reported CNN Business.

The company rolled out an aggressive new growth strategy this fall that includes a plan to revamp old brands and launch trendy new businesses. The move comes after years of cost-cutting efforts that took a toll on its snack sales.

"We need to become more consumer-centric than ever before," said Mondelēz CEO Dirk Van de Put during the company's investor day in September. "What they eat, how they buy, why they buy and where they buy, we need to be on top of this and follow where the consumer is leading us."

With SnackFutures, Mondelēz plans to develop "an ecosystem of partners" that will allow the company to keep tabs on "what ingredients are hot [and] what trends are popping across the world," Tim Cofer, the company's chief growth officer, told CNN Business, adding that Mondelēz can decide whether it should build products on its own, or partner with a business already working in that space.

The SnackFutures team is going after three key areas: premium snacks, digital platforms and healthier foods. The team is made up of 20 people, who are the "biggest innovators in our company," according to Cofer.

The team, the chief growth officer noted, has "put a few successes on the board" that may roll out next year.

In the Cards?

Following Mondelēz’s split from Kraft Foods in 2012, the company remained focused on the power brands it brought over from Kraft, like Oreo and Chips Ahoy!, but neglected its smaller, more regional brands, which led to sales slips, the news outlet reported.

The company's snack business rose more than 2 percent in 2016 and in 2017. In the first half of 2018, snacks were up 3 percent, according to Van de Put, adding that he expects about 3 percent growth per year in the long term.

The CEO also said that while snacks already make up 85 percent of Mondelēz’s business, that percentage could still increase.

The goal of becoming the world's largest snack provider is within reach: Right now, Mondelēz is second only to PepsiCo in the global snacks market, according to research from Euromonitor International. The margin is slim, with PepsiCo having 7.6 percent of the market and Mondelēz with 7.4 percent. Mars, in third place, is far behind with 4.9 percent of the market, the news outlet reported.