Mondelez Kinh Do ready for a strong tet campaign

Monday, Dec 25, 2017 09:00

Mr. Stephane Gripon - Managing Director of Mondelez Kinh Do

The year is drawing to a close and companies in all sectors, especially confectionery, are in a race to stimulate the year-end festive season consumption. Mondelez Kinh Do, a subsidiary of Mondelēz International, seeks to advance its advantage and conquer the Tết market. The company’s CEO, Stephane Gripon, talks about plans for this peak season.

There are only two months left for Tet. How does the New Year snack and cake market look this time?

Everyone knows that Tet is the peak season for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), including biscuits and cakes. The snack market is also growing faster than the GDP and consumer goods segment growth rates. The Biscuit and Cake market will close the year 2017 with double digit growth.

Tet is very important because the gifting occasion contributes 40 per cent of Biscuits and Cake Pie revenue in urban market (includes 4 key cities: Ha Noi, HCM City, Da Nang, Can Tho); contributes 51 per cent of Biscuits and Cake Pie revenue in rural market (according to Kantar Worldpanel, 52 weeks ending September 10th 2017). Our category is the top priority for retailers during Tết. The mooncake season was strong thanks to the good economy, indicating that Tết will be strong. Moreover, since Viet Nam’s average biscuit and cake consumption is lower than in some Asian and European countries, there is still big potential here. We are planning a strong Tết campaign around Kinh Do’s traditional products and our new products.

Our vision is to create moments of joy. And it dovetails with our perception that Vietnamese consumers like to celebrate and to gift. We also observe that gifting is getting stronger in new occasions like Christmas and Valentine day.

What are Mondelez Kinh Do’s new offerings this year?

Vietnamese prefer packaging design that invokes good luck and health during Tet. It’s interesting that consumers, before deciding to buy a gift for somebody, first decide the budget. That’s the reason why Mondelez Kinh Do offers gift hampers in various sizes. It shows that Mondelez Kinh Do carefully surveys the local market, understands consumers and helps them create moments of joy through gifting.

This year we will continue with our “See Kinh Do, feel Tet” marketing campaign, and launch new products under the LU, COSY and SOLITE brands. We believe this diversification will meet all sorts of consumer needs ranging from premium to mainstream and affordable. We will make vigorous efforts to enhance product visibility and availability.

Companies have big budgets for buying Tet gifts. As market leader, how does Mondelez Kinh Do foster the B2B segment?

Actually the B2B segment is Kinh Do strength. We have a strong knowhow and network from our mooncake campaigns that we can re-apply for Tet. Our commercial team includes some dedicated resources for B2B and professionals. We release every year a special catalogue for the Tet campaign; Clearly understanding Vietnamese consumers is also one of our key strengths. We pay high attention to details with beautiful packaging design to show care and make people happy. Gifting is an art and a sign of gratitude.

A corner displaying Modelez Kinh Do at a super market. The company this Lunar New Year will continue with their "See Kinh Do, Feel Tet" marketing campaign and launch new products uner the LU, COSY and SOLITE brands

Food safety comes to the fore during Tet. How does your company plan to ascertain food safety during 2018 Tet?

We never compromise on quality standard, I must say. That’s Mondelez Kinh Do’s commitment. We are a global corporation headquartered in the United States who applies the highest standards everywhere we do business. Therefore, one of our top priorities is to bolster our reputation as the best snacking food company, ensuring superior quality and perfect food safety in line with Mondelēz International standards. Our two factories have passed various internal audits with good ratings and have world-class safety and quality with ISO certification. The standards of our two factories have been significantly upgraded since 2015 with significant investments. We also expanded our capacity to serve ASEAN markets, including the new plant in Hưng Yen with a new Halal certified production line.

Can you tell us more about Mondelēz International’s strategy to build its muscle for the Mondelez Kinh Do brand?

Our aim is to become the best snacking company in Viet Nam, and that means growing our business, growing our people and growing our reputation. After acquiring a great business like Kinh Do, we combined the best of both: Kinh Do great portfolio of local brands with Mondelēz International repertoire of global brands, Kinh Do distribution capability advantage with Mondelez commercial and marketing knowhow. It has allowed us to expand our business both in modern and general trade with the best portfolio in the industry. With such firm foundations, Mondelez Kinh Do is building its brand muscle through 3 strategies: contemporize our iconic brands, innovate into white space and execute selling ubiquity.

We keep the core brands fresh and relevant for future generations. We are now the market leader in biscuits with OREO, LU, AFC, COSY& SOLITE, in mooncake with Kinh Do, and in packaged bread with Kinh Do. These brands are a great heritage, famous across many generations. We make them part of people’s lives by consistently creating moments of joy anywhere and anytime. One of our best innovation have been the launch of LU cookies in Viet Nam, a brand created in France in 1846.

Regarding distribution, there are more than 600,000 grocery outlets in Viet Nam, and our products are already available at more than 300,000, but we believe our efforts will never end. Our snacking products are relevant to be available everywhere from grocery shops to entertainment places or travel locations. We will continue to support our distributors and retailers with robust programs to achieve this ambition of ubiquity: being everywhere.

Culture is one of the hardest things after any M&A deal. How has Mondelez Kinh Do adapted to the local business culture while retaining its global practice? Can you tell us about the integration?

If you remember, our integration commitment is to be “better together,” which means creating a better company for consumers, customers, suppliers and employees. The integration has been successful. A complete merger usually takes three years, and we are almost finished with everything in less than that time, including the combination of distribution systems, the product portfolio harmonization and the human resources agenda.

I appreciate our employees’ efforts and hard work to adapt to some new ways of working and to Mondelēz International culture. We have conducted an intensive effort of training and capability development to support our people. Moreover, we offer greater career opportunities in Vietnam and abroad. Our people are very engaged with a great sense of accountability in performance management. We are in a very competitive industry and “better together” means also winning in the market place. This is what we have planned for this Tet!

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