Sachin Prasad, AMEA Commercial and Strategy at Mondelez International, told FoodNavigator-Asia that he believes trusted brands always thrive in times of trouble.
However, he said the firm was seeing two distinct purchasing patterns.
“One group is buying big portions at a discount to stock up. Another is buying only the amount that satisfies their craving. We, too, are actively deciding if we should push more low-unit price packs (smaller pack sizes of products) or roll out more promotions on big packs. On the other hand, I foresee that 2023 could be characterised by revenge spending,” Prasad explained.
“When people tighten their purse strings, they’d always go back to trusted brands, as they are assured of getting the right value for their money,” he added.
The firm is also on a mission to increase sales of its best-known brands like Oreo and Cadbury by targeting the emotional needs of consumers.
“Oreo is the biggest biscuit brand in Asia-Pacific, and Cadbury Dairy Milk is one of the most popular chocolate brands in the world. These are major brands that have spanned generations and possess strong presence in many countries.
“However, the household penetration rate (the number of households in a market that buy a particular brand in a given year) of even our strongest brand is 50%. That gives you a sense of how much more headroom for growth we have,” Prasad revealed.
As such, the company plans to continue building on its biscuit snacks and chocolate brands for the next decade.
“Business development is not always about new innovations. It’s also about making well-loved products relevant and accessible to everyone. Our focus is still to push even our best-known brands to penetrate further into every household,” he reiterated.
Tugging at the heartstrings
To better resonate with today’s consumers, Mondelez’s “empathy @ scale” marketing strategy makes use of data analytics and social listening to understand consumers on a deeper level.
“We want to know what emotional needs drive people to snacking, and their consumption habits when they feel certain emotions such as happiness and anxiety. We discovered that people seek reassurance from the brands that they trust.
“Our goal is to build a real connection with consumers and for our brands to become a go-to whenever people have an emotional need to fill. We want to be a part of their celebrations, as well as a source of comfort in times of uncertainty – at least there’s a snack they can count on,” Prasad said.
In addition, findings from Mondelez’s State of Snacking report stated that 62% of the respondents enjoy food content on social media. The younger generation, in particular, engage in food-related topics online and are looking for more snacking options throughout the day.
While technology can be a helpful tool, Prasad emphasised that it is only effective if companies are sure of their purpose in leveraging a certain technology — for example, customer discovery or delivery of brand message.
“You have to be certain of what your brand stands for and what your company wants out of utilising technology. It is easy to list your products on Lazada or Alibaba, but it is very difficult to differentiate your brand. Don’t put your product on the shelf just because you can. Create a product that truly solves a problem, make it relevant, and target the consumer it is best suited for,” he shared.