Vietnam is Mondelez's fastest-growing market in the region: Mondelez Kinh Do's Managing Director

November 18, 2022 - 08:00
During its seven years of outstanding operations in Vietnam, Mondelez Kinh Do has made efforts to promote ESG and the circular economy through various initiatives, contributing to environmental sustainability.

The company is constantly making plans to achieve its long-term goal of becoming a more sustainable snacking company in Vietnam.

Its newly appointed Managing Director, Anil Viswanathan, talks about the company’s business success and efforts to deliver its ESG commitments.

Congratulations on coming to Việt Nam! Please tell us your first feelings on coming to Vietnam as the new Managing Director of Mondelez Kinh Do?

I'm very excited at the opportunity and seeing the considerable growth potential in the market.

I'm happy to contribute not just to Mondelez Kinh Do's development but also to Vietnam’s economy. We have a robust business in Vietnam and are well-placed to tap into the growth.

I find a lot of energy in Vietnam. It has a young population, people are optimistic, and the government has done a great job of controlling the impact of COVID-19.

Anil Viswanathan, new appointed Managing Director of Mondelez Kinh Do Vietnam

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Mondelez Kinh Do has greatly succeeded in Vietnam over the last seven years. What do you contribute this to? As the new leader, what have you set your sights on?

The company has achieved outstanding performance in the last few years. Mondelez has been ranked first in terms of both value and volume share in the biscuit category in Vietnam for 24 consecutive months (*). Besides the business growth, we also received recognition from credible organizations. Recently we were listed in Anphabe's Top 100 Vietnam Best places to work 2022 for the fourth year in a row and ranked 13th in the Consumer Goods Industry.

There are three critical things that have driven this proud achievement.

The first key driver is solid distribution expansion. Our sales force and marketing team have accomplished excellent work to deliver our products to more stores and reach more houses. Online shopping platforms are growing rapidly, and we are among the number one online as well. We were one of the pioneering mooncake providers with products available on almost every e-commerce site. This significant growth has also been driven by digital transformation, which we have applied across our business operations.

The second attribute is the strength of our brands. At Mondelez Kinh Do, we have leading global and local brands like Oreo, Ritz, Cadbury, LU, Kinhdo, Cosy, Solite and AFC... When we bring the power of both together, it makes us very unique. Cosy, our favourite biscuit brand in Vietnam, made another great leap: it is the brand ranked first in terms of Volume Share in the Biscuit category for 24 consecutive months.” (**)

Our operational excellence is the third key driver of growth.  We have continuously upgraded our factories and invested in new capacities, enabling us to bring in disruptive product innovations. We launched the Oreo Socola Pie two years ago, and it has been delivering outstanding results in the market. We have also kept innovating our mooncake portfolio over the years with new flavours and stunning creative packaging for each range.

Mondelez Kinh Do's have strived to extend its footprint, ensuring its products are available across the nation for consumer's convenient shopping

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As a leading company in the industry, what do you do to help consumers acquire healthy snacking habits and easily enjoy snacks throughout the day?

At Mondelez, we want to help everyone snack mindfully so that they can savour each bite, enjoy each moment and experience more satisfaction from our snacks. Our research shows that mindful snacking leads to a positive relationship with food by making deliberate and conscious food choices, derive more pleasure and satisfaction by savouring with all the senses, better manage food portions, and be less likely to overeat by paying attention to hunger cues and feelings of fullness.

One of the best things about Mondelez Kinh Do is our unique and broad portfolio of products starting from the morning snack as a result of our tireless consumer work and R&D for years. We create easy access for consumers to the right snacks throughout their days.

Our products are offered to consumers as a wide range of delicious, high-quality and nutritious products to help them snack with intention and attention, focusing on the present moment and enjoying how the food tastes. For example, we are in the process of looking at a few new launches where we want to completely offer fresh ingredients, together with an innovative product portfolio, to satisfy consumers' current and changing well-being needs.

To help consumers with healthy snacking, we’re committed to including our Snack Mindfully icon with portion control guidance on 100 per cent of packages globally by 2025.

Mondelez Kinh Do is a company that has set and achieved many ambitious ESG targets. Please share with us your company’s ESG achievements.

Our mission is to lead the future of snacking by offering the right snack for the right moment made the right way. We call this Snacking Made Right – and it is the lens through which we view ESG and a framework for our sustainability and well-being agendas. We are focused on making our snacks more sustainable by using less energy, water and waste and with ingredients consumers know and trust.

We are taking many initiatives to make our ingredients more sustainable by working with our vendor partners. As a bold step in using sustainable ingredients, we are going to use cage-free eggs in our products. Recently, we have signed up to create an ecosystem of vendors who can give us cage-free eggs.

The second part of the strategy is packaging innovation and making packaging recyclable. We have given a global commitment to make 100 percent of our packaging recyclable by 2025. In Vietnam, we are in a perfect place since over 97.5 percent of our packaging is recyclable, and we're still working on R&D to help us achieve the target maybe much sooner than globally.

We are also working with the government on our EPR commitment. Specifically, we are contributing to ensure that we recycle the packaging from the market and use them to make packaging for our products, which we call the circular economy.

The next critical pillar is environmental sustainability, for which we have made multiple commitments across the areas of energy, water, CO2, and waste. We are going to install solar panels in both our plants in the North and in Binh Duong, which will dramatically reduce our CO2 emissions, equivalent to planting about 4.7 million trees.

In our factories, to reduce priority water usage in areas where water is most scarce by 10% by 2025, we use water treatment systems in our factories to reuse water and reduce its consumption.

In terms of food waste, we target reducing our food waste in manufacturing by 15% and our food waste from distribution by 50 per cent by 2025.

To support the community, we have a strong partnership with Food Bank globally and in Vietnam to help distribute food to the needy. That was what we started during the pandemic. We have undertaken many exciting tasks by establishing strategic partnerships with key organisations. Since Jan 2022 we have donated our food products worth VNĐ9.6 billion to the community through Food Bank Vietnam. We also provided seed funding for Green Connect Vietnam, a social enterprise, through their ‘Larva Yum’ project that uses black soldier fly larvae to process organic waste into nutrient rich organic fertilisers to perform the “Upcycle food waste into free-range chickens and eggs”.

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Mondelez Kinh Do and partners at the signing event of "Upcycle food waste into free-range chickens and eggs" project

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To get back to the market, how do you see the snacking market in the coming year and its competitiveness?

Vietnam is a high potential and the fastest-growing market of Mondelez in Southeast Asia. The economy is expected to grow, consumers will snack more, and more people will enter the cities. Also, we will see the younger generation, we used to talk about Gen Z, and now we are talking about Gen Alpha, which I believe will be an important factor for any marketers to consider.

Since Vietnam is attractive to many players, we will see a lot of competition. However, we are very confident in our plans.

Nowadays, consumers want to mix flavours and textures. They like sweet, salty, and savoury. Therefore, we aim to provide consumers with more choices and innovations. There are many interesting new segments coming with many opportunities, and we are ready for it with a good innovation calendar, besides our strong brands, strategic plans and profound investment to support this growth.

The combination is an incredible innovation that helps Mondelez Kinh Do to win its consumers' hearts

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So please tell us about your plans for the next five years.

Recently Vietnam has shown positive economic signs, and we are all recovering from COVID-19. Therefore, we will ensure a clear and long-term growth strategy and transform our talent and the organisation to be ready for the future.

Expansion, premium and innovation are the three extensive focused areas of our growth strategy in Vietnam for the next five years. We will accelerate growing the core brands in our portfolio by bringing local and global brands to new homes and stores. While continuing to make our products more premium, we will keep bringing new disruptive concepts and delighting consumers with new experiences.

The combination is an incredible innovation that won our consumers' hearts. Some great examples we have introduced recently are the Bun category and AFC caramel crackers, which gained a lot of consumer appraisal. Another breakthrough idea was converting our Oreo global brand into Oreo pie for Vietnamese consumers, which did really well.

With these critical drivers and the significant investment in marketing and advertising, we're confident of gaining market share and continuing to be a leader in the industry.

Thank you very much!

(*) NielsenIQ: From Retail audit report in Total Vietnam (including Traditional Sales, Semi-Retailer, and Modern Trade channels) for Biscuit Category from October 2020 to September 2022.

(**) NielsenIQ: From Retail audit report in Total Vietnam (including Traditional Trade, Semi-retailer and Modern Trade channels) for Biscuit category from June 2020 to May 2022.”