- A majority of consumers are incorporating their values into what snacks they want to buy, according to a study from Mondelēz International. The company's third annual "State of Snacking" of 3,055 people globally found the majority of consumers said they either purchase or would like to buy snacks from companies that are working to offset their environmental impact (85%) and that are produced in a way that is fair and lawful to all the workers involved (87%).
- The data showed these values encompassing a so-called "broader consciousness" are likely to intensify in the coming years. Between 75% and 78% of consumers say low-waste packaging, fair labor practices, animal welfare and environmental concerns are currently impacting their food choices. Consumers expect those issues to affect 92% to 93% of their food choices in the next 10 years.
- The data underscores a broader push among large food and beverage companies who have moved aggressively to make changes to their businesses and product offerings in an effort to more closely align with consumer values.
In its annual State of Snacking report, Mondelēz shined the spotlight on ESG-related trends that have infiltrated the food space while offering up a not-so-subtle message: They're not going away.
“Snacking is much more than a source of nutrition and indulgence; it also is a source of social connection and inspiration for broadened experiences," Dirk Van de Put, Mondelēz's CEO, said in a statement. "We now see data emerging that demonstrate how consumers are evolving their snacking behaviors and purchasing decisions to more fully align with their values."
It's a big reason why Mondelēz and other competitors have invested money to improve how and where they source their ingredients, the amount of waste they generate or the impact their business operations have on the environment.
In many cases, shoppers are willing to pay more for offerings that mirror their own personal values and beliefs so companies have little choice but to make changes throughout their business to show they are taking a stand and willing to make a difference.
In late 2020, Mondelēz's SnackFutures innovation hub introduced the company's first carbon-neutral cracker brand, NoCOé. Last June, Mondelēz said consumers purchasing its Triscuit brand will be able to trace the journey of the white winter wheat baked into some of the crackers from a co-op of farmers’ fields in Michigan to where the product is made.
A few months earlier, the snacking giant also launched a platform to incubate, finance and support self-sustaining ventures that address key challenges in the world, including climate change. The goal of Mondelēz's Sustainable Futures platform is to invest in social ventures that improve livelihoods and build healthy communities. Mondelēz also will invest in projects that protect forests, reduce carbon emissions or increase resilience in areas where it sources raw materials.
The most important issue for consumers today is low-waste packaging, Mondelēz noted, followed closely by animal welfare. The fact that packaging is at the top of the list shows why more companies are investing in this area.
PepsiCo has been working on food packaging technology and has introduced a fully compostable bag made with plant-based materials, starting with its Off The Eaten Path brand. Coca-Cola has debuted new bottles made from 100% recycled plastic material. And General Mills' Nature Valley Crunchy granola bars moved to fully recyclable plastic wrappers starting last spring.
Mondelēz's report also highlighted how the snacking experience is being impacted through social connectivity. With more than half of people globally saying social media has inspired them to try a new snack during the past year, according to Mondelēz, online consumers are undoubtedly impacting many of the other trends identified by the maker of Oreo, Ritz crackers and Lorna Doone shortbread cookies.