The Financial Times has reported that Mondelēz plans to acquire a number of healthy snack brands over the next five years, as consumers become more health conscious and governments urge action on obesity.
The food group, whose portfolio includes Cadbury chocolate, Toblerone and Oreos cookies, claimed that it has been committed to reducing sugar, salt and saturated fat in its products, as well as cutting calories from children’s confectionery.
The US-based company witnessed prosperity during lockdown as people sought out comfort foods such as chocolate and biscuits, while its sweets and gum brands (usually bought ‘on the go’) saw a decline.
In the UK – Mondelēz’s second largest market – the government recently announced tighter anti-obesity measures, such as a curb on adverts for food high in fat, sugar and salt before 9pm.
“We sell a range of products but some of them are more indulgent products where the consumer, if eating too many of them, could face obesity,” chief executive Dirk Van de Put told the Financial Times. “We feel it’s the right thing to do . . . to help the consumer make conscious decisions about what they eat and educate them.”
“It’s something that also even our stakeholders – our investors, our employees – request, that we do the right thing as a company.”
Last year, Mondelēz acquired US-based Perfect Snacks, which makes protein bars, for $284m. It also bought baked goods manufacturer, Give & Go, for $1.1bn.
Luca Zaramella, Mondelēz’s chief financial officer, said the company hoped to redeploy its investments in coffee companies JDE Peet’s and Keurig Dr Pepper in a bid to spend a chunk of the proceeds on new acquisitions.
“Importantly we have $10bn-worth of coffee stakes sitting on our balance sheet . . . The idea we have is to convert those coffee stakes into more snacking platforms and acquisitions,” said Zaramella.
“It’s about product lines that are more in tune with wellbeing, but it’s certainly not limited to wellbeing,” he added.
“We are very open to work with governments on any objectives that they have,” said Mr Van de Put, adding: “I’m a bit hesitant that sometimes the authorities want to go too far, want to be too restrictive, too prescriptive to the consumer. [We want] a joint campaign trying to educate rather than restrict.”
“It could be that we would have to limit the range of products to sell because it’s not worth it any more to ship these products from A to B . . . if we would not have the opportunity to keep the British pound to an equal level with the euro, we would potentially have a product that now becomes more expensive,” he continued.