Mondelēz, the global snacking business, sees significant snacking opportunities in fast-growing Asian markets, where it is shifting its focus towards local tastes and needs, a top executive has said.

“Snacking growth correlates very strongly with GDP growth,” according to Glenn Caton, senior vice president of growth for AMEA at Mondelēz.

“So as the population rises [in Asia, the Middle East and Africa] and wealth increases, we are seeing fantastic opportunities to accelerate our growth,” he told the recent Food Industry Asia (FIA) Food for Future Summit in Singapore.

Growth rates in these markets are around double the global average for Mondelēz, he reported. At the same time, online growth is about five times the rate of offline growth. (For more, read WARC’s report: Evolve or die: Mondelēz gears itself for the future of snacking.)

This has entailed some changes to the company’s operating model and culture, Caton added.

“We are moving away from global category structures into a local-first model to tap into the trends for making sure that we are… adapting to local tastes and needs,” he said.

Of its nine research, development, quality and innovation (RDQI) centres, for example, three are situated in Asia: the Singapore hub innovates around gum and candy, while the ones in Suzhou, China and Thane, India are respectively focused on biscuits and chocolates.

With local ingredients, novel flavours have emerged: Cadbury Dairy Milk has a mango version in India, a Kopi C flavour in Malaysia, and a S’mores edition with Pascall (another Mondelēz brand) marshmallows in Australia. Elsewhere in the region, Oreo recently unveiled two unusual Asian flavours in China: Wasabi and Hot Chicken Wing.

The reverse is also happening, as the company takes “global brands to local products and traditions”. Its Oreo mooncake, a seasonal special for the mid-autumn festival in Vietnam two years ago, has since travelled to other markets including China and Singapore.

Besides that, Caton said the company’s view of what constitutes snacking has shifted. “We are broadening our snacking view of pure indulgence to ensure all of our products offer… good on-pack communication, sustainably sourced, simple ingredients, (and) less artificials.”

Sourced from WARC