Mondelez unveils new clean label cracker brand at CAGNY

by Monica Watrous
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Vea snacks, Mondelez
Vea is Mondelez's new brand of wholesome savory crackers made with no artificial ingredients, colors or flavors.

BOCA RATON, FLA. — Coming soon from Mondelez International is Vea, a new brand of wholesome savory crackers made with no artificial ingredients, colors or flavors. Featuring such varieties as Thai coconut and Peruvian sweet potato, Vea mini crunch bars, world crisps and seed crackers will be available across grocery, club stores, convenience stores and e-commerce channels in the United States and Canada beginning in July.

Mondelez executives unveiled the brand during a Feb. 21 presentation at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York annual conference in Boca Raton.

Tim Cofer, Mondelez International
Tim Cofer, chief growth officer for Mondelez

“Vea biscuits are baked with real ingredients and visible herbs and spices to deliver layers of complex tastes,” said Tim Cofer, chief growth officer. “We worked with chefs from around the world to design these new snacks with both regional flavors from Thai coconut and Tuscan herbs to Peruvian sweet potato and Greek hummus.”

The brand was designed to drive incremental growth in the cracker segment and target millennial consumers around the world, Mr. Cofer said.

“Vea truly underscores the best of what we’re doing across a wide range of growth capabilities, including breakthrough product and packaging innovation, real-time data analytics, comprehensive distribution across multiple growth channels and fearless digital marketing,” he said.

Good Thins, Mondelez
Vea builds on the success of Good Thins, a line of baked snacks Mondelez launched a year ago.

Vea builds on the success of Good Thins, a line of baked snacks the company launched a year ago. Developed in response to consumer demand for more wholesome savory snack options, the product line contains no artificial flavors, colors, cholesterol, partially hydrogenated oils or high-fructose corn syrup.

“(Good Thins) was just named the No. 1 new snacking brand in the U.S. with sales of approximately $70 million in just nine months,” Mr. Cofer said. “To put that in perspective, Good Thins is now bigger than many familiar well-being brands that have been in market for a decade or more.”

Expanding with well-being innovation is a key part of Mondelez’s growth strategy in the near term.

“In fact, 2017 will be our biggest year ever in well space with unprecedented innovation and renovation of our portfolio,” Mr. Cofer said. “As you can see our well-being innovations are broad stretching across all of our categories and all of our regions. Most important, we’re introducing products that fit how consumers define wellness today.”

Ritz Crisp & Thins, Mondelez
Mondelez is planning to introduce Ritz Crisp & Thins baked snacks in the United States.

Examples include gluten-free biscuits, chocolate bars made with ethically sourced cocoa and Trident gum with no artificial colors and flavors. The company also is planning to introduce Ritz Crisp & Thins baked snacks, which debuted in the United Kingdom last year, to the U.S. market next month, Mr. Cofer said.

Another new product on tap from Mondelez is belVita Protein biscuits, with 10 grams of protein per serving and no artificial flavors or high-fructose corn syrup.

“BelVita protein will not only be available in regular grocery stores, but it also enables us to expand our offerings in high-growth convenient stores,” Mr. Cofer said.

In addition to pursuing well-being innovation, Mondelez is identifying opportunities to expand into geographic white spaces, Mr. Cofer said, citing as an example the recent launch of the Milka Oreo Chocolate Bar.

Oreo Milka bar, Mondelez
Mondelez launched its Milka Oreo chocolate bars last year.

“As you know, we made a big splash into the $14 billion U.S. chocolate market at the end of last year, and in the mainstream segment we paired Oreo, America’s favorite cookie, with Milka, one of our most iconic European chocolate brands,” Mr. Cofer said. “This unique cross-category innovation has proven successful in Europe and Asia, and it really delivers on what consumers want — favorite brands, a great sensory experience and more varieties.

“While it’s still quite early, we’re encouraged by the strong start. In fact at one of our biggest retailers, Oreo candy bars are already a top 10 item velocity. We’ve got a bigger marketing and sales push coming later in the year as we ramp up distribution and availability.” 
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