MCLEAN, VA. — Even though Mars, Inc. is often considered one of the biggest confectionery companies in the world, it has still been accused of “shrinkflation” because it has been making its Galaxy chocolate bars 10 grams smaller. Anton Vincent, president of Mars Wrigley North America, explained that such changes are part of retaining a high level of quality in the company’s products.
“One of the things that we’re responsible in doing is making sure that we’re taking all potential measures on our side of the business to make sure that we are providing value,” Mr. Vincent told Richard Quest during a Sept. 26 appearance on CNN’s “Quest Means Business.” “And sometimes we have to make adjustments to the product to be sure that we can keep quality high and making sure that we’re providing value across the price value stream.”
Mr. Vincent also believes candy is indeed “recession-proof.”
“I think the beautiful thing about confection and treats and snacking in general is it is a pretty resistant space, particularly as it relates to the more indulgent side,” Mr. Vincent said. “As it relates to seasons, coming to Halloween, that’s a period of permissibility. Consumers give themselves permission to consume as well. People are, first of all, they’re enjoying them, and it becomes a routinized part of how they sort of allocate their calories across their entire nutritional intake.”
Mr. Vincent went on to discuss the performance of each Mars brand.
“We’re fortunate to have some tremendous brands,” Mr. Vincent said. “We have 11 brands over $1 billion in terms of revenue. And soon our ice cream business will be there by 2030. For us, it’s making sure that those iconic brands, like a Mars bar in the UK, or M&M’s, Snickers or Twix, they’re beautiful and provide different types of enjoyment across our household set and our consumer set as well. So it’s up to us to make sure that … they’re relevant and they’re out there with high quality and with the types of marketing that will draw people in to make sure it’s a continuous part of their consumption with the responsibility around it as well.”
Mr. Vincent said Mars’ private ownership means the company doesn’t have to sacrifice purpose for profit.
“We’re a purpose driven organization,” he said. “We don’t think there’s a conflict between purpose and profit. One drives the other. I think as senior executives, we’re aligned with the family with a compass, which is essentially our agreement with the family around how we want to operate. We have the five principles, but it also allows us to have a very long-term view around how to execute against our purpose and ensuring that the economic model supports that as well. You know, as a matter of fact, there’s parts of that compass built around, how do we make the world a better place? As one of the senior executives, part of my long-term compensation is making sure that I put just as much emphasis on how we make the world a better place as I am that our model continues to move forward.”
When asked about the difficulties of naming products, Mr. Vincent explained Mars looks at consumer research and cultural context for this practice.
“Like any other company, we do a tremendous amount of consumer research,” Mr. Vincent said. “Also being a global company, we have to be sensitive to our regions and localities as well. It’s important for us to understand the cultural context. So I think we do a good job of listening to our consumers and putting a name and investment behind that name and brand building in a consistent way.”