“A key focus to date has been to get a good understanding of emerging snacking trends across Australia and New Zealand, and to meet with some of the innovators and start-ups that are making waves in the industry,” Mondelez ANZ Head of Growth Hub Gavin Kaplan told FoodNavigator-Asia.
“The Melbourne based ANZ Growth Hub is only new, so there’s a lot of excitement to see us invest in a dedicated growth team in our Australia and New Zealand business.”
Kaplan added that a key factor in the Growth Hub’s operations was that of mutual benefits for both the company and the innovator/start-up partners that they wished to collaborate with.
“We’d love to hear from innovators and start-ups that are doing some really exciting things in the snacking space, and are looking to partner with Mondelēz,” he said.
“While they can benefit from our strengths as [a leader in the world’s snacking industry], we can benefit from their experience in areas such as unique ingredients and innovation, or growth via different channels including digital platforms.”
According to Mintel research, snacking in Australia in particular is moving towards health and convenience trends, which are likely areas for the Mondelez Growth Hub to focus on moving forward.
“As consumers seek more nutrient-dense offerings, snacks are an ideal vehicle to deliver superfoods to time-pressed, health-conscious consumers,” said Mintel Global Food & Drink Analyst Jodie Minotto.
Global innovation and growth in snacking
A point to note was that the ANZ Growth Hub is a separate entity from Mondelez’s global innovation and ventures hub SnackFutures, which was launched last year.
SnackFutures Innovation Marketing Director Katrina Borisjuk Cohen told us that globally, snacking is an industry that is ‘growing quickly’.
“[Consumers are looking to] find more convenient ways to eat, and [as such] their expectations of snack makers are evolving rapidly, with respect to wellbeing and sustainability for example,” she said.
“Part of [SnackFutures’] role is to support in-market teams to identify potential new opportunities to deliver on the needs of local consumers.”
SnackFutures’ first investment was in line with the expected health trend, entering a minority stake into prebiotic function food startup Uplift Foods.
“We saw Uplift as an opportunity to help make gut health more understandable, accessible and enjoyable for consumers through new forms and flavours,” said Cohen.
The start-up’s keystone product is a ‘Daily Uplifter’ prebiotic fibre mix which comprises ingredients such as green banana flour, pea protein, Jerusalem artichoke, probiotic strains and more which it says are aimed to ‘nourish the gut and support a positive mood’.
Uplift Foods’ products are currently only available in Australia and the United States, but Uplift Food CEO and Head Dietitian Kara Landau told us that she expected the partnership with Mondelez to ‘accelerate the growth potential of the product’.
“It’s exciting to be working with the world’s largest snacking company to grow my small business and identify potential opportunities to deliver the benefits of my products to [more consumers] in new and exciting ways,” said Landau.
Kaplan, Cohen and Landau were at the Naturally Good Expo 2019 Business Summit, where Cohen and Landau presented on SnackFutures and achieving seed funding as a start-up.