According to the firm’s President for Australia, New Zealand and Japan Darren O’Brien, the crackers industry in Australia is seeing a boost due to the overall rise of healthier savoury snacks trending locally, and consumer demands are getting higher and more varied in terms of quality and taste.
“Consumers in Australia [are] increasingly considering the ingredients and flavours they’re looking for in a savoury snack, [and their] demands are constantly changing,” O’Brien told FoodNavigator-Asia.
“[Within this category], we have seen premium crackers lead the way when it comes to meeting [these] evolving demands especially as these are anchored in health and wellness. [This is why] we have chosen to invest in Gourmet Food, as this has given us a significant presence in the premium cracker category [which is crucial for us to] meet consumers’ snacking needs.
Gourmet Food comprises multiple well-known healthier cracker brands such as Olina’s Bakehouse, OB Finest and Gullon. In addition, the purchase means that Mondelez has also bought over wafer and crispbread brand CrispBic as well as premium seafood brands Clearly Premium and Ocean Blue.
For the moment though, O’Brien still believes that the purchase of Gourmet Food will most benefit the Mondelez business and snack portfolio via its wide reach in the premium crackers market and overall healthier savoury snack category.
“Olina’s Bakehouse and OB Finest, for instance, are premium crackers with wholesome ingredients you can see [such as nuts, seeds and fruits whereas Gullon is known for its no sugar added or sugar-free products],” he said.
“This is a whole new space for us, [but the category as a whole] is growing strongly, which means that while the products are premium, they’re also widely available for consumers across Australia and New Zealand, and markets across the globe.”
Most of the Gourmet Food brands are present in both Australia and New Zealand, and several such as Gullon and OB Finest are available in foreign markets such as Singapore and Malaysia.
Scale and innovation
O’Brien added that Gourmet Food’s major strengths and the reason it had managed to achieve both quick growth and status as a category leader in Australia lay in its ‘innovative, agile and consumer-centric’ approach alongside ‘deep cracker knowledge’.
“We aim to complement these strengths with our geographic scale and coverage to build the current portfolio of brands to reach more consumers both locally and internationally,” he said.
“The firm also has a brand-new, state-of-the-art cracker production facility in Victoria, and this will add to Mondelez’s six manufacturing facilities across Australia.”
Mondelez Australia will be operating Gourmet Food as an independent business entity, retaining top leadership as directors or advisors.
“We recognise the strengths of the Gourmet Food business, which is why it will continue to operate as a standalone business. This includes the current CEO, Todd Wilson, staying on as an advisor, while the current Chief Operating Officer, Oliver Flint, has been appointed Managing Director,” said O’Brien.