Mondelēz says product demand stabilizes after lockdown spike

SALES of snack products have started to stabilize after most of them recorded a surge in demand for most of the pandemic lockdown, an official of the food and drinks company Mondelēz Philippines, Inc. said.

Atul Kulkarni, plant lead of Mondelēz Philippines, said in a virtual interview in early December that the company saw increased demand for much of 2020 compared with previous years, indicating panic buying when restrictions were first put in place followed by demand from families working from home.

“Very recently, we are seeing it to become stable now, since it cannot be always spikes. So, we are seeing stable demand as of now in the market. There is some demand impacted or affected because of the festive season, but that happens every year,” he said.

The company sells brands such as Chips Ahoy!, Oreo, Tang drink mix, and Eden cheese. Demand for “impulse” items like chocolate, Mr. Kulkarni said, was not as strong compared with other snack products.

In 2021, Mondelēz Philippines will be focusing on expanding e-commerce sales.

Mondelēz International, Inc. last month released its “State of Snacking” report, finding that 88% of more than 6,000 adults it surveyed globally are buying snacks at either the same amounts or more during the pandemic than before it.

Market research company Kantar Worldpanel Division Philippines expects the surge in fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sales during the holidays to be lower than the usual 20% growth seen in previous years.

Mr. Kulkarni said that the company during the stricter lockdown experienced some operations challenges, including work absences caused by the lack of public transport and slower access to imported materials caused by bottlenecks.

“Logistics was greatly impacted. We have seen that there were certain checkpoints that have been implemented. There were lots of permissions needed for public transport as well as for general transport,” he said.

Mondelēz in 2019 started creating play areas with recycled materials for schools, but the project was put on hold due to the lack of onsite education.

The company has since been working with social enterprise Plastic Flamingo to collect and recycle one metric ton of plastic from October to November this year, a project it plans to expand in 2021. The plastic waste will be turned into eco-planks, which will be used to make emergency shelters for people displaced by natural disasters.

The global company has committed to using 100% recyclable packaging by 2025. Mondelēz International was listed among the top 10 global polluters in the 2020 brand audit report by Break Free from Plastic. — Jenina P. Ibañez

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