Mondelēz International is expanding its innovation hub,
SnackFutures, to Australia and New Zealand to uncover new ways to disrupt the local snacking industry.
On Monday, the snacking giant announced the establishment of a market hub in Melbourne to accelerate growth and innovation, following the successful launch of the project last year in the US and Europe.
Brigette Wolf, head of SnackFutures innovation told Inside FMCG on Tuesday that the business is focused on developing different brands, partnering with different startups and building “an ecosystem of partners”.
“While Mondelēz has incredible depth and expertise, there are some things we still don’t know, and we want to bring that outside thinking in to make sure that we were the closest to what’s going on in the world,” Wolf said.
Australia was selected as a base for SnackFutures because of the high level of start-up activity in the market.
“This market is very forward thinking for wellbeing, for people and the planet. There’s a lot of innovation going on here, the whole food culture in Australia speaks to it,” Wolf added.
Health and wellbeing and ‘good for the planet’ are key areas of focus for the local hub, with particular interest in food waste reduction, sustainable sourcing and packaging, alternative ingredients, circular and regenerative snack solutions and emerging technologies.
Gavin Kaplan, associate director for growth at Mondelēz International ANZ, has been leading the Growth Team locally since late last year, and will drive the local hub. He told Inside FMCG that Australia and New Zealand is “a hotbed for innovation” and represent a great opportunity for the business.
“Consumers needs are evolving, we know they want to snack in a way that fits into their lifestyle; they want to eat right, whether that’s about sustainability, or sustainably sourced ingredients, well bring snacks, portion control, or just having a little treat. They want a range of options,” Kaplan said.
“We live in an era of unprecedented disruption. We’ve got a really strong core business, we’ve lead the future of snacking for decades, and we intend to continue to do that for the years to come; but we’ve identified that innovation and shifting the boundaries of what’s possible will play a critical role in moving forward as consumers demands change,” he added.
Amanda Banfield, president, Australia, New Zealand and Japan said on Monday that the local hub is a very exciting prospect for the business and the region.
“Australia and New Zealand are exploding with start-ups, innovators and thinkers at the forefront of food that promotes personal and planetary health, and the Mondelēz International team has been actively building capabilities, learnings and relationships in this space for some time,” she said.
The SnackFutures team is exploring all avenues to tap into these innovators.
“It’s a myriad of ways,” Wolf told Inside FMCG. “We talk to all sorts of people, sometimes we put out requests… sometimes it’s just seeing what’s out there and who might we partner with. We also have a site called snackfutures.com that people can submit their ideas.”
The company is holding its first Future of Snacking Pitch Competition at the Global Table food conference in Melbourne this week, in which finalists will pitch their solution for a more sustainable food system. The two winners will be awarded coaching and mentoring from Mondelēz International experts.