In an interview with the Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit, Glenn Caton, Business Unit President South East Asia at Mondelēz International shares his insights into how the food industry is responding to the current crisis and how the company is witnessing consumption behavioural changes and exciting developments in this area.

Glenn Caton - Mondelez International - Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit
Glenn Caton, Mondelez International

How have Asia’s food manufacturers had to adapt in 2020, and what challenges and opportunities have arisen out of this?
The global pandemic caused serious disruptions on global supply chains. Under challenging circumstances, the health and safety of the employees is of primary concern for manufacturers. Maintaining business continuity through supply chains is also important as the food industry is an essential industry requiring an uninterrupted supply of products for the benefit of the society. Companies with a resilient supply chain, strong distribution network and preferred brands have retained their strong connection with consumers and have managed to overcome challenges. The pandemic has also provided an opportunity for industry partners to support the communities they are in. For instance, as Mondelēz International we have made cash and in-kind donations of almost 25 million USD globally including Asia and continue to support healthcare organizations and NGOs by donating PPE and other essential items.

How is Mondelēz International seeing consumption behaviour change, and what developments are most exciting in this area?
At Mondelēz International we believe in empowering our consumers to snack right. We provide the right snack, for the right moment, made the right way. COVID-19 is changing consumer habits around the world and our strategy is to remain cognizant of our consumers’ needs and always thinking ahead by relentlessly innovating to stay ahead of market demand. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in consumers becoming more concerned about what they eat and the source of their food. At the same time people are spending more time at home. We’re providing our consumers a variety of choices and trusted products/brands. We offer more products to enjoy as a family (family packs) and more offerings to fit in-home occasions. Consumers increasingly look for value from products in uncertain times and want emotional connections to their brands/products and gravitate to global and local brands they can trust. For instance, Oreo helps consumers to unlock playfulness in everyday moments (through the playful twist, lick and dunk way of eating it), helping families connect better. Our State of Snacking study also indicates that consumers are seeking snacks rich in vitamins and minerals. This creates preference for fortified products like Tang powdered beverage which provides a 100% recommended daily intake of Vitamin C.  We have also seen the rise of e-commerce and expect this trend to continue beyond the pandemic period. Mondelēz International is a market leader with resilient supply chains, strong distribution networks and preferred brands. We have executed better than competition and thus delivered unprecedented market share in most of our Asian markets. Retaining our strong relevance to our consumers is what makes us excited at these challenging times.

What outcomes do you hope will be achieved at and following on from the Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit?
Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit comes timely to underline the importance of maintaining food supply chains operational at critical times. This supply chain needs to be looked upon holistically with farming, raw and packaging material suppliers, and distribution networks. I am also hoping that the Summit will create another occasion to exchange ideas to provide innovative solutions looked upon by consumers.

Join Glenn online at the virtual Asia-Pacific Agri-Food Innovation Summit and tune into his panel discussion on ‘WFH: How have Consumption Behaviours Been Transformed by Covid-19 – and How is the Food Industry Responding?’ on Thursday November 19.

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