Earlier in July, Mondelez Canada, the country’s largest snack company, commissioned a survey by Buzzback to monitor Canadians’ buying habits and behaviors ahead of the 2021 festive season. Per the survey results, 97 per cent of respondents plan on celebrating the holidays this year. Over a third of consumers intend to buy more salty snacks, chocolates and candies for Halloween.
Anticipating increased demand, Mondelez increased the production of its snack brands. Martin Parent, president and CEO of Mondelez Canada, anticipates a 50 per cent revenue growth from 2020. Nithya Caleb, Food in Canada’s editor, spoke to Parent about the survey and Mondelez’s plans for the holiday season.
Why is Mondelez Canada increasing production? If so, by how much and for what product types/brands?
PM: We started planning for Halloween last November, right after the previous season was finished. We increased production as we expected to see more Canadians choosing to trick-or-treat or find other ways to celebrate this Halloween. We believed that with increased vaccination and more people socializing outside their homes we would see a return to more traditional shopping patterns. With the significant recovery that we anticipated to see this season, we have projected our 2021 sales to increase by more than 50 per cent of what we did in 2020.
We are expecting to see this growth across both chocolate and candy categories, and extend to our top brands, such as Cadbury, Maynards, Caramilk and Sour Patch Kids.
What were the key results of the survey?
PM: We are excited about Halloween, as we saw from the survey that more than half (61 per cent) of consumers intend to celebrate Halloween this year, vs. the 42 per cent who celebrated last year. We can see that people are hungry for opportunities to socialize and get together with friends and family.
In fact, of those surveyed, close to 80 per cent (76 per cent) plan to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters vs. 63 per cent in 2020, with 33 per cent of consumer indicated they also plan to attend a small gathering, a definite jump from the 17 per cent who attended small gatherings last year.
Please provide some details about the survey – where and when it was conducted; what were the respondents asked; and the results.
PM: We conduct national surveys on a routine basis, as part of our regular check-ins with Canadians to ensure we meet their constantly evolving needs and demands. With the advent of COVID-19, it is imperative that we continue to monitor consumers’ changing behaviors and shopping patterns, so that we as a company can ensure we are serving our customers what they need, when they want and in the formats they require . Measuring their attitudes toward the holidays and annual celebrations/traditions on an annual basis helps us do just that, especially during the pandemic.
The survey increased our excitement for the upcoming Halloween celebrations, and helped us prepare in the best way possible by increasing our production orders early on.
What are some of the reasons for these consumer trends?
PM: While Canadians continue to go about their daily routines with COVID-19 still in our midst, we’re encouraged to see consumers become more optimistic about celebrating the seasons throughout this year. As restrictions slowly begin to lift, we believe people are feeling less concerned about COVID-related issues, and excited to renew and celebrate their holidays in 2021.
Why are more people buying salty snacks this year?
PM: With more Canadians ready than ever to celebrate Halloween, and get together more with friends, family and loved ones, we are very excited about what this season will bring. As more Canadians are set to celebrate, we expect this optimism to buoy the sales of the total Halloween season including salty snacks, chocolate and candy.
What are your expectations for this holiday season and why?
PM: Similar to our outlook for Halloween, we anticipate the majority of Canadians planning more get-togethers and festive celebrations than they did last year.
The optimism we have observed has also influenced our plans, leading to increased production of our chocolate favourites, such as Toblerone, Cadbury Dairy Milk bars and other sweet treats, to help Canadians prepare for the holidays. We also expect to see an increase in the biscuit category as more people plan to entertain this holiday season. With the decrease in concern of COVID-19 related issues, and a desire to reconnect with loved ones, 97 per cent of our survey respondents plan to celebrate the festive season. We have increased our seasonal cookie production by more than 40 per cent and have reintroduced seasonal favorites for Canadians to enjoy once again.
How can the industry prepare for this holiday season? What are the key considerations in order to maximize sales this holiday season?
PM: Some key considerations to maximize sales for the holidays would be to continue to monitor your consumers’ buying patterns as closely as possible, and to pay heed to the COVID-19 situation in your markets as it evolves – those factors can impact supply-and -demand as well as key shopping moments in-store. Industry should be prepared for consumers to shop earlier than usual to ensure product availability given current global supply challenges. E-commerce is table stakes these days with consumers taking advantage of all available channels to get the products they need for the upcoming festivities.