Mondelez seeks space in PH’s $500-M crackers market

Published September 9, 2020, 10:47 AM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Mondelez, the world’s leading snacking company, has launched for the first time its crackers snack brand in the country on hopes to get a crack of the estimated $500-million crackers market in the Philippines, the biggest crackers market in southeast Asia, and further influence Filipinos on their mantra of “mindful snacking.”

Nikhil Rao, marketing director for biscuits, cakes and snacks at Mondelez South East Asia based in Singapore.

 Nikhil Rao, marketing director for biscuits, cakes and snacks at Mondelez South East Asia based in Singapore, told Business Bulletin in a virtual interview that they are expanding their snack portfolio in the Philippines with the launch of “Tiger Crackers”. The Philippines, he said, is the largest market for crackers in southeast Asia estimated at $500 million. Tiger is a successful Mondelez brand in the country, but it is largely a biscuit product.

“This is our first cracker product in the Philippines,” said Rao, adding the new Tiger cracker comes in three flavors – leche flan, ensaymada and plain – at very competitive price points.

Although there have been various cracker brands in the Philippines, Rao said they believe there is enough room for a new player. “We have a very good response and great reactions across the market and even food critics have favorable response to our new product,” he said.     

He noted that Filipinos have the penchant for snacking and the company is taking advantage of this huge market by helping consumers understand “snacking mindfully” as part of the company’s sustainability campaign.

“We would like to enter the right way,” said Rao, who was previously Global Brand Equity Director for the $4 billion Cadbury Masterbrand at Mondelez International, based in Zurich and London. Cadbury is a complex portfolio of brands across 30 countries.

As the brand custodian, Rao is responsible for the overall brand strategy and brand health, driven through equity campaigns, digital, design underpinned by a clear global strategy. Mondelez promotes the right portion for snacking right at the front of every packaging, on top of the current nutritional value content in their labels.

As a global leader in snacking, Mondelez Philippines has seen that consumers are increasingly also looking for snacks that are not only delicious but make them feel good.

“As a company we aim to inspire mindful snacking. It is an approach that encourages you to eat with attention and be present in every moment to have a better relationship with food. To help consumers snack mindfully, we offer portion control products, or those with less than 200 calories per pack. Tiger Crackers strengthens our well-being portfolio by having only 120 calories per pack of three crackers,” explained Rao, a health buff, who runs 20 kilometers every week and coach my kids in tennis and an avid Skier, a passion he picked up while working in Zurich for 5 years.

The pandemic has really impacted the snacking business because consumers have limited movement and some suppliers were unable to deliver supplies, but Rao said that Mondelez was fortunately spared because their front liners were able to report for work and their supply chain was not disrupted. Their popular products such as Tang, Eden, Cheese Whiz, and Tiger are growing double digit.

“That is a sign of very strong brands as consumers gravitate toward brands that they love,” said Rao.

Rao admitted of increasing cost during this pandemic like the higher cost of coco, but said they don’t intend to raise prices and just stick to its “magic price points” because it would be difficult for people to adjust.

During the height of the pandemic, Mondelez Philippines has partnered with 50 organizations giving front line workers with nourishing snacks and refreshing beverages worth P21 million since April this year.

For his part, Ashish Pisharodi, Mondelez Philippines’ country head, shared that traditionally, Mondelez has been known for market-leading positions in powdered beverages and cheese, but snacks categories like biscuits and chocolates are seen to offer them a long runway for growth.

He said Tiger Crackers is an innovation that leverages its global snacking expertise but keeps the local consumers in sharp focus, by using locally-loved flavors. “The Cracker segment in the Philippines has traditionally enjoyed a strong following with robust growth and we are excited to play here,” he said.

Crackers play a big part in Filipino snack times as an affordable, filling, convenient and all-day option.  Tiger Crackers can meet these needs, offering affordability at P50.00 SRP per pack of ten pieces. It is filling, with three crispy crackers inside each pack, in a convenient format for anywhere and anytime snacking.

The Tiger brand was launched in 2009 in the Philippines and offers delicious and nutritious biscuits as well as cream filled crackers. It has gained a following with its biscuit product, which offers nutrition for the whole family with its vitamin and mineral fortified formulation.  Tiger Crackers is the latest product from this line, which aims to promote mindful snacking among consumers.

Leveraging on its global snacking expertise, Tiger Crackers are also baked using an innovative technology, which makes each cracker crispier, giving a more satisfying bite and product experience.

“With a Company purpose to empower people to snack right, Mondelez Philippines through Tiger Crackers offers the right snack, for the right moment and made the right way. It gives Filipinos delicious local flavors in a snack format they love, for enjoyment any time, and while promoting mindful snacking,” said Pisharodi.

 
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