Irene Rosenfeld hopes Mondelez International can create delicious moments of joy

Getting to the market fast

Rosenfeld does not go so far as to say that the grocery side of the business was holding back snacks. But the two sides did require a different approach, and that created a challenge for leadership.

“North American grocery needs to be managed for cash and for margin,” Rosenfeld says. “There is a big focus there on maintaining the moderate growth but making sure it’s a very cost-focused company.

“Our global snacks business is all about growth. So the focus is on global platforms for each of our brands. The focus is on capabilities and the supply chain and sales, which will drive these products more rapidly around the world.

“The opportunity for us to be able to scale up very quickly if we are properly structured and have the proper communication from one part of the world to another is the main idea for our new company.”

The ability to make smart acquisitions of new brands and make strong connections in emerging markets will go a long way toward determining the ultimate success of Mondelez.

“The rate of consumption in the emerging markets is a fraction of what we see in developed markets,” Rosenfeld says. “So that whole investment thesis behind Mondelez is this idea of a growth company because of our geographic footprint and our category participation. It’s really depending on explosive growth, and we’re growing at a double-digit rate in these emerging parts.”

 

Focusing on health

It’s hard to talk about snacks and the love that people have of them without talking about obesity. Rosenfeld says the problem of people being overweight and out of shape is big in the United States, but it’s also a concern in other parts of the world.

“It’s every bit as challenging in India, and it’s on its way to markets like China,” Rosenfeld says. “It’s an issue we take quite seriously, and we look to address it in a couple of ways.”

The first part is looking at calorie intake. Efforts are ongoing to formulate products in a way that they taste good but can be enjoyed without guilt or risk to your future health and well-being.

“We continue to focus on taking things out like calories and sodium and sugar and replacing them in our products, as well as increasing the level of fiber,” Rosenfeld says. “We’re not pretending chocolate is going to be something other than it is.

“What we’re doing with products like that is to make sure the consumer has portion control. We’re making more of our candy bars scored so you can break off a piece at a time. We have resealable packaging. We’re doing a lot more single-serve products, which is good for price value and consumption.”

As for burning calories, Rosenfeld says she and her company will always do what they can to promote exercise and an active lifestyle for consumers young and old.

“We have been working very actively in partnership with organizations like KaBOOM! and with playgrounds in inner cities in this country and in programs like Healthy Schools in the U.K.,” Rosenfeld says. “We’re helping to educate children about good nutrition and the value of exercise.”

The key to being successful in providing nutritional foods to consumers, whether it be children, college students, young professionals or senior citizens, is easy to understand. But it’s often a lot more difficult to achieve in actual practice.

“Healthier products like Triscuit and Wheat Thins are growing at twice the rate as the base products,” Rosenfeld says. “There’s a clear business opportunity as well as the social responsibility. It’s not a tough sell, but what’s hard is to make sure these products taste delicious. Because at the end of the day, if it doesn’t taste good, the rest of it doesn’t matter.”