- Mondelēz International said consumers purchasing its Triscuit brand will be able to trace the journey of the white-winter wheat baked into some of its Triscuit crackers from a co-op of farmers’ fields in Michigan to where the product is made, the company said in a statement.
- The snacking giant said the supply chain transparency pilot is the first of its kind for Mondelēz in North America. The initiative reinforces the company’s commitments to environmental, social and governance, including expanded insight into the origin of essential ingredients.
- Consumers are placing more value in ESG-related issues when it comes to the brands they buy, and in many cases they are willing to pay more for offerings that mirror their own personal values and beliefs.
Nearly half of U.S. consumers are likely to change their purchasing behavior based on the environmental attributes of the food, according to survey data from Nielsen. Addressing these persistent issues is not only critical for consumer expectations, but it is imperative for companies' bottom lines that these practices change.
“Consumers are demanding more transparency about their food, and are keen to have access to information about where their food comes from and how it is grown,” Jay Cooper, president of North America biscuits at Mondelēz, said in a statement. “We’re excited to test these capabilities with the Triscuit brand here in the U.S. and look forward to expanding our transparency efforts.”
Mondelēz isn't the first company to tout is traceability efforts and it's undoubtedly not the last. Unilever and Nestlé became the first global food companies to publish their entire palm oil supply chains for consumers a few years ago. Olam International, the world’s third-largest cocoa processor, said last September it achieved 100% traceability for the cocoa it directly sources. And a mobile app developed by J.M. Smucker, Dutch beverage company Jacobs Douwe Egberts and others gives consumers the ability to trace their coffee beans with an interactive map.
Countless smaller brands have latched on to traceability, too. Quinn, which is partially owned by confection and snack manufacturer Hershey, lists on the popcorn maker's website the ingredient, the farmer who produces it and where it is grown. Organic foods maker One Degree touts on its website that its packaging has a QR code that consumers can scan to trace every product and meet the farmers and producers behind every ingredient.
While it's often easier and less costly for smaller brands like Quinn and One Degree to provide traceability than it is for a mega-offering like Triscuit, it's still an expensive and challenging endeavor. Increasingly, however, it's an investment company's will need to make and Mondelēz's announcement with Triscuit only serves to further highlight its value for CPGs.
Triscuit has the advantage in that the cracker has only three ingredients, and wheat is by far the largest (followed by canola oil and sea salt). Since wheat is such a big part of the product, the traceability could hold more weight since it's not overshadowed by several other ingredients. Triscuit is the second-largest cracker brand in the company's U.S. portfolio, with retail sales for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 26, 2020 of $374 million, according to Nielsen data provided by Mondelēz.
The company recently piloted a similar project in France using blockchain technology, so Mondelēz was able to use insight it collected for Triscuit, a company spokesperson said. The individual noted the company does not "have additional pilot programs planned, but look forward to finding ways to apply these learnings across the business."