- SnackFutures, the innovation and venture arm of Mondelez, is testing out two new snack lines through its collaborations with food startups Dirt Kitchen and CaPao, according to NOSH.
- Dirt Kitchen makes fruit and vegetable snacks from excess produce or those items considered too unappealing to sell as is. SnackFutures is doing in-store trials for the brand's dried vegetable chips and a mix of whole vegetable pieces, nuts, herbs and spices. It is also testing ads on Instagram to gauge consumer interest.
- CaPao uses the parts of cacao fruit that might otherwise be wasted to make snacks and a ready-to-drink beverage. SnackFutures has launched a Kickstarter campaign to boost CaPao products such as cacao fruit jerky, a cacao fruit and oat milk smoothie, and cacao fruit mochi. In return for a pledge, contributors choose which product they want, so the team is gaining input on the most popular items.
Should the Dirt Kitchen and CaPao products catch on with consumers, Mondelez may be able to position itself on the cutting edge of snacking products by being able to test out a variety of lines in potentially faster and more cost-effective ways.
Since its formation last fall, SnackFutures has partnered with Chicago's The Hatchery, invested in a minority stake in prebiotic functional foods startup Uplift Food and backed clean label brand Hu. The group is also collaborating with Israeli foodtech incubator, The Kitchen. In this latest collaboration with Dirt Kitchen and CaPao, the innovation and venture arm is tapping into consumer demand for sustainability with upcycled products.
These are all steps on the way to SnackFutures' goal of raising $100 million in revenue by 2022 by capitalizing on recent trends and developing small brands with big potential. SnackFutures noted it is especially looking for products in three high-growth areas: well-being, premium snacks and digital platforms and capabilities that help address consumer snacking needs.
Its parent company Mondelez has also been busy in the M&A department. Most recently, the maker of Oreos and Ritz crackers said it will buy a majority stake in Perfect Snacks, which makes organic, non-GMO, nut butter-based protein bars and bites. While not a SnackFutures project, the planned investment serves to double down on the company's snacking focus.
CEO Dirk Van de Put recently told CNBC's "Mad Money" that Mondelez is doing relatively well by adapting to changing tastes and trends in different markets. The CPG giant saw net revenue declines last year but posted a 3.7% gain in organic net revenue for the first quarter of this year — in part from innovations in its Oreo and Cadbury brands introduced in Asian markets.
Besides its powerhouse brands such as Oreo, the company is focusing on "local jewels," which are those smaller, more localized brands that can tap into regional preferences and help keep up with consumer demands. It's possible startups with promising snack products could eventually join those if the SnackFutures strategy works out.