Arnott’s vs Mondelez: the battle of the biscuit giants

Oreo cookies
Oreo cookies.

Arnott’s and Mondelez recently launched new biscuit products at the same time, in differing ways. But who won in store, and what was the impact of the lockdown in Victoria?

Perhaps capitalising on the consumer increase in snacking during Covid times, both Arnott’s and Mondelez launched new biscuit SKUs simultaneously recently, however the products and the execution varied. It was a close call as to who performed better overall in shoppers’ eyes, with the brands each strong in different areas of in-store execution, according to in-store data collection agency Snooper. 

In early August, Arnott’s launched Shortbread Cream Tiramisu and Monte Carlo Black Forest as part of its new dessert inspired range.  Mondelez, meanwhile, launched two Oreos SKUs – Salted Caramel, and Double Stuff.

Snooper’s shopper community visited 150 Woolworths, Coles and IGA stores between August 26 and September 1 (two weeks after the new products launched). Fifty per cent of stores visited were in Victoria, in order to determine impacts of lockdown. Visits were conducted during a promotions week.

As part of Snooper’s new products tracker the shopper community assessed a range of in-store metrics across both brands including ranging, point-of-sale materials, facings and brand blocking, pricing and promotions and importantly ease of finding the new SKUs. So who ‘won’ each round?

When it comes to ranging, the first difference observed in the manufacturers’ strategies was that Mondelez gave exclusivity to Woolworths on the Salted Caramel SKU. When comparing speed to market, Mondelez was distributed in more stores than Arnott’s in the first weeks following the launch. While the distribution for both brands was comparable at Woolworths with more than 95 per cent of stores in the sample ranging all four innovations, in Coles Monte Carlo Black Forest was the lowest available SKU with 67 per cent distribution in the store sample versus 87 per cent for Oreo Double Stuff; and Arnott’s Shortbread Tiramisu was the lowest distributed SKU at IGA in 34 per cent of stores versus 57 per cent for Oreo Double Stuff, highlighting that Mondelez pushed for a stronger focus on independents than Arnott’s. 

Both players invested in point of sale materials at Coles and Woolworths to support their launches with the execution ranking similar for both players and aisle fins found in 55 per cent of stores visited. 

Mondelez wins at Woolworths when assessing the number of facings, with each Oreo SKU being double faced in 50 per cent of stores visited where the new Arnott’s SKUs were single faced. At Coles and IGA, both manufacturers introduced their new products with one facing.

The winner of shelf position at Woolworths, using Shelf 2 (starting from the top) – the ‘eye level is buy level’ shelf as the goal – goes to Arnott’s at Woolworths, with close to 80 per cent of stores displaying the dessert inspired ranged at eye level compared to 60 per cent for the Oreo new products. At Coles, the winning position is split between Arnott’s and Oreo due to the difference in planogram strategy. Woolworths chose to block all ‘dessert’ biscuit SKUs together at eye level, where Coles ranged the new products adjacent to their regular counterparts – at eye level on shelf 3 for Shortbread Tiramisu but on shelf 5 for Black Forest next to the regular Monte Carlo range.

Easiness to find is an outcome of a combination of ranging, shelf position, adjacencies, and POS support and could be considered the ‘pinnacle’ award. So who won this battle of the new biscuit SKUs?

Oreo was rated higher in easiness to find. So the strategy of double facing and range distribution seem to have paid off. 

While the aisle fin didn’t seem sufficient to help Arnott’s win the race, in stores where Arnott’s had merchandising material, the easiness to find significantly increased; Arnott’s was 1.7 times easier to find in Woolworths stores where there was an aisle fin.

Another important finding for Arnott’s was that the planogram impacted the easiness to find their dessert inspired range. The Woolworths strategy of blocking the range resulted in 52 per cent of shoppers rating the SKUs high or very high on ‘easy to find’ versus only 41 per cent for Coles. 

When assessing the influence of the lockdown in Victoria on new product launches, it seems that the most impacted areas were planogram and point of sale materials execution. Although ranging in Victoria was slightly lower than the rest of Australia (between 1 per cent and 5 per cent difference in distribution depending on the SKU), the execution of the planogram looked different by state, with Arnott’s new products being blocked in 60 per cent of Victorian Woolworths stores versus 88 per cent in other states. 

Point-of-sale execution also differed by state. Aisle fin presence was lower in Victoria at 48 per cent than elsewhere at 66 per cent, likely because retailer staff are focused on essential tasks such as shelf replenishment and safety measure adherence. 

Based on the above, questions for manufacturers therefore become “How can we drive in-store conversion on innovations in the ‘new normal’?” And “Are branded display stands going to become an increasingly important competitive advantage if in-aisle point-of-sale execution is disrupted by lockdown restrictions on an ongoing basis?”

Source: Snooper crowdsourcing platform, n=150, 26 August-1 September 2020

Laurie Wespes
Laurie Wespes
  • Laurie Wespes is founder and CEO of Snooper, which connects brands and retailers to a community of thousands of shoppers who collect in-store data and consumer insights to identify areas of growth in real time. Snooper’s product tracker helps manufacturers drive higher ROI on their innovations by helping them take data driven actions on KPIs such as distribution, share of shelf, position on shelf, promo mechanics and POS presence. More information at snooper-app.com or contact laurie@snooper-app.com.

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