It’s a situation we’ve all faced: the dreaded 3pm slump. Committed to developing the perfect snack to provide that much-needed afternoon pick-me-up, Mondelēz International brings powerhouse brands that offer quality, convenience and truly delicious taste to consumers in 160 countries around the world.
As a global snacking powerhouse, the company is home to international brands that are loved in markets all over the world, such as Cadbury, belVita, Chips Ahoy!, Toblerone, Oreo, Ritz, LU and Stride. However, it also captures the local tastes its consumers know and love.
Promising to offer the right snack, for the right moment, made the right way, Mondelēz International has grown into the world’s leading snack company.
“Our purpose and vision is to lead the future of snacking around the world,” declares Maurizio Brusadelli, President of Mondelēz International’s Asia–Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) operations.
With global net revenues reaching US$26 billion in 2017, the business is powered by more than 80,000 employees and food lovers.
According to Maurizio, AMEA is the business’s most diverse market, accounting for around 22% – or US$5.7 billion – of total revenue.
Comprising more than 70 countries, AMEA is home to three quarters of the world’s population, which continues to grow and become more affluent.
Despite this diversity, Mondelēz International is connected across different economies and consumers by its brands, which include everything from chocolate and biscuits, to gum and confectionary, to cheese and powdered beverages.
“By monitoring their behaviour, we’ve discovered that the people in this region tend to eat more between meals, providing us with a fantastic opportunity. Our consumers come from powerful emerging markets such as India and China, as well as developed markets such as Australia, New Zealand and Japan,” he explains.
“As the leading snacking company within these geographies, we’re not confined to any single category like chocolate or biscuits. We are well-positioned to capture opportunities in every category within the expanding global snacking market.”
Mondēlz International, (pronounced mohn-de-LEES)is a name that symbolises ‘delicious world’. ‘Monde’ derives from the Latin word for ‘world’ and ‘delz’ is a fanciful expression of ‘delicious’, while ‘International’ represents its global footprint.
A rich history
Having been with Mondelēz International for the past 25 years, Maurizio is proud to call himself a one-company man. “People often ask what’s kept me here so long, and the truth is that this is not the same company I joined all those years ago – it has transformed so significantly,” he notes.
In fact, Mondelēz International only came to exist in 2012 after the former Kraft Foods Inc decided to spin-off its North American grocery operations. The company changed its name to Mondelēz International and dedicated itself to continuing Kraft’s global snack and food brands.
A proud Italian, Maurizio’s career with Kraft Foods has taken him to many developed and developing countries throughout Europe. Starting out in its Italian marketing department in 1993, Maurizio quickly gained experience in a variety of categories and brands, becoming marketing manager by 1999.
After moving into sales and trade marketing, in 2002 he took over the Italian Food division and became Category Director of Philadelphia Europe four years later.
This management trajectory continued into 2009 when he moved to Spain as Vice President and Managing Director of Kraft Foods Iberia, going on to lead Europe’s Gum and Candy category and eventually its entire UK, Ireland and Nordics operations.
A relocation to Singapore in 2014 introduced an exciting new environment for Maurizio as President of Markets and Sales for Mondelēz International in Asia–Pacific before taking control of AMEA in 2016.
“In 25 years, I changed roles more than 15 times, gaining valuable experience in everything from marketing to general management,” he explains. “Each time I experience change, I embrace it – whether it’s an opportunity or a challenge. I prefer to be the change agent, rather than be overwhelmed by it.”
A member of Mondelēz International’s global management team, Maurizio is a humble leader, reluctant to discuss his successes over the years. “I always knew that I could make a difference in each stage of my life. There’s a marker for everything I do,” he admits. “I’m proud to see that in each team I’ve worked with, I’ve left them in better shape than when I joined.
I’ve managed to fix up and turn around many different brands and businesses, and in the AMEA region, we’ve achieved profitable volume growth.”
A bright future
Maurizio says Mondelēz International is accelerating consumer-centric growth by taking a broader approach to snacking: balancing its investment across both global and local brands, and transforming its marketing and investing in key markets and adjacencies.
“Our iconic brand is built on a strong foundation, and our plan for growth is centred around embracing technological innovation, driving operational excellence and maximising the value of our great brands and great people,” he explains. “We are putting the consumer at the heart of everything we do and we’re confident this plan will create value for our shareholders too.”
According to Maurizio, emerging markets are a growth engine. “We are increasing our presence in emerging markets across the world, which already makes close to 40% of our total revenue globally,” he says. “We are one of the first companies in the world to recognise this potential – that’s why we’re the market leader.”
Leading with culture
Mondelēz International’s 80,000-strong global workforce is united by many causes, the most important of which is their shared passion for producing quality food. In his 25 years across various departments within the business, Maurizio has always admired the growth culture.
“We put consumers at the centre of everything we do and we empower people to choose the right snack, for the right moment, made the right way,” he declares. “Our consumer research and proprietary methodology has given us a strong understanding of consumer perspectives all over the world.”
Mondelēz International continues to build on this winning growth culture by effectively leveraging local commercial expertise and investing in talent and key capabilities, while enabling the business to move with greater speed and agility. “In our company, there is strong collaborative culture where people are always willing to help each other.
Our staff come from experienced backgrounds across many industries – they are the reason we’ve been so successful in building brands and delivering profitable results.”
When it comes to his leadership philosophy, Maurizio draws on the lessons he learned from his parents. “They taught me that respect and trust are the two pillars of any successful relationship, whether that’s business or personal, and I’ve based my career around these values,” he explains.
“I like to think that as a leader, I’m very approachable, I connect well with people, I make fast and strategic decisions, and that I’m always looking to raise the bar and see what we can do to improve.
“At the end of the day, I believe that you have to enjoy what you do to succeed. I like working with people who have a positive attitude and a ‘can do’ approach, people who are always looking to seize new opportunities, and people who lead the change rather than those who are simply carried away by it.”
“Every day, I wake up around 6am and I’ll admit, I immediately check my phone to see what’s new in and outside Mondele¯z International. When I’m not travelling, I have breakfast with my family before the kids take the bus to school,” Maurizio explains. “I then prepare myself for the working day, which normally stretches into the evening because I work across so many different time zones.”
Despite this busy schedule, Maurizio makes time for self-reflection every day. “I try to make a little time for myself to ensure I’m always at my best, especially when I have to work late into the evening,” he notes. “In my downtime, I like to spend time with family and friends. Working for a global food company, it comes as no surprise that I love food and I love to cook.”
Mondelēz International’s mission is to lead the future of snacking around the world. Maurizio believes that the company’s tagline, ‘Snacking Made Right’, demonstrates its commitment to creating both healthy and indulgent snacks for all consumer tastes.
To grow its wellbeing offerings, Mondelēvz International is taking a three-pronged approach: keeping brands relevant to what consumers want and what they don’t want and offering more portion-controlled options, driving consumer behaviour change through promoting a mindful approach to snacking and supporting communities’ wellbeing through Mondelēz International Foundation support programs.
For the past three years, Mondelēz International’s team of scientists, nutritionists and chocolatiers at its Reading and Bournville research and development facilities have been working to find a way to achieve the much-loved Cadbury Dairy Milk taste while delivering 30% less sugar with no artificial sweeteners, colours or preservatives and no increase in calories. At the beginning of this year, this mission became reality.
“We recently launched a new Cadbury Dairy Milk bar with 30% less sugar, which is currently available throughout the UK and Ireland,” Maurizio explains. The new bar marks the most significant innovation in the brand’s history, and underscores Mondelēz International’s ongoing commitment to play its role in tackling obesity, including childhood obesity, in the UK.
“If it continues to be a success with our consumers, we will look to apply the approach to other Cadbury Dairy Milk products across our range.”
The new Cadbury Dairy Milk variant is just one of several lower sugar innovations planned for the UK market over the next two years as part of Mondelēz International’s strategy to increase wellbeing choices and help people to enjoy treats in moderation as part of a balanced lifestyle.
These include Cadbury Boost+ Protein, which will contain 12 grams of protein per bar and 32% less sugar than the standard Boost bar; ‘30% less sugar’ variants of Maynards Bassetts hero products, Wine Gums and Jelly Babies; and a ‘40% less sugar’ line extension on belVita.
In AMEA, The Natural Confectionery Company 25% Less Sugar Jellies were launched in Australia and New Zealand in August 2018 without compromising on the great taste or quality that people expect from the brand and hence became a huge success.
Mondelēz International’s 2020 sustainable agriculture and environmental footprint goals place it at the forefront in the fight against climate change. “We’re focused on improving the communities in which we live and work. As a company, we aim to minimise our environmental footprint to help create a better world for the next generation,” Maurizio explains.
Through its Cocoa Life Program, the business is improving the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and their communities, helping their crops become more resilient to climate change. Mondelēz International’s Harmony wheat program promotes biodiversity and good environmental practices across Europe, and the business continues to reduce its environmental footprint, making its snacks with less energy, water and waste.
In its mission to ensure 100% sustainability and transparency across the industry, Mondelēz International has challenged its supply chain and the entire sector to be sustainable and transparent in the production of palm oil since 2010.
Despite having already made substantial progress through its Palm Oil Action Plan, the company believes the industry needs to take further action to prevent deforestation along the palm oil supply chain.
Over the next several years, Mondelēz International will invest US$50 million to help the communities in which it operates. Mondelēz International Foundation, together with its partners, is transforming the lives of more than 1.5 million children across 18 countries by increasing their nutrition knowledge, physical activity and access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
All business efforts are aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals to address malnutrition and promote good health.