‘Everyone snacks’: How Mars Wrigley is pursuing growth in emerging markets

‘Everyone snacks’: How Mars Wrigley is pursuing growth in emerging markets

His aim is to alter the best way of snacking in half the world. Because the President of Mars Wrigley’s World Rising Markets, Blass-Macueva continues to consider easy methods to “increase the penetration and protection of chocolate, chewing gum, mints and fruity candies” in additional than 130 nations. On this situation of the “McKinsey Shopper and Retail” podcast, Macueva talked about Mars Wrigley’s new digital plan, its aggressive benefit within the battle for expertise, and its purpose-driven technique for growing snacks and snacks in rising markets. He additionally revealed the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for his management. The next is an edited model of his dialog with McKinsey’s Monica Toriello.



Monica Toriello: We’re recording this episode in October, which, in some components of the world, means Halloween is simply across the nook. To many individuals, Halloween is synonymous with sweet—plenty of sweet. Our visitor on right now’s episode lives on this planet of sweet, gum, and fruity confections.

Blas Maquivar is president of worldwide rising markets at Mars Wrigley, the maker of iconic international manufacturers, together with M&Ms, Snickers, Twix, Skittles, Starburst, Lifesavers, and Doublemint. Blas oversees a $2.5 billion enterprise that employs 6,500 individuals and encompasses greater than 130 nations throughout Asia, Australia, Latin America, the Center East, and Africa. These areas are residence to about 65 p.c of the world’s inhabitants.

Blas first joined Mars 11 years in the past as basic supervisor of Mars Chocolate in Mexico. He went on to guide your entire Latin American area, then the UK; then he grew to become president of the worldwide chocolate enterprise earlier than taking over his present function, beginning in January 2019. Previous to becoming a member of Mars, he labored at PepsiCo, Microsoft, and P&G. Welcome to the podcast, Blas.

Blas Maquivar: Thanks, Monica. I’m tremendous completely happy to speak with you about one thing that buyers love: our sweet. Many nations world wide are celebrating Halloween. It’s not solely in North America; some nations in Europe and Asia have adopted that ritual as nicely. It’s an important event for Mars Wrigley to have the ability to place a smile on shoppers’ faces.

Monica Toriello: Earlier than we dive in, please clear this up for us: you lead international rising markets, however you reside in the UK. What’s the story there?

Blas Maquivar: It’s a mix of a enterprise purpose and a private purpose. From the enterprise viewpoint, it’s as a result of I lead many time zones. Residing in London permits me to have a dialog with Asia in my morning, which is Asia’s night; then with the Center East or Africa throughout my afternoon; after which, in my evenings, with my Latin American leaders.

On the non-public aspect, I lived in London after I led our United Kingdom enterprise from 2015 to 2017. I’m Mexican, and my companion is Puerto Rican, however we actually loved our time in London. We left for Chicago after I took on a worldwide function, however after I was requested to guide rising markets, my household and I needed to maneuver again to London. Earlier than COVID-19, I traveled the world; in all probability 70 p.c of my time was spent touring. That has modified, as you possibly can think about.


Shoppers’ snacking behaviors

Monica Toriello: Afterward, we’ll speak extra about your post-COVID-19 journey schedule. However first, let’s speak about individuals’s snacking behaviors. I’ve heard you say that in the course of the pandemic, chewing-gum gross sales went down as a result of individuals don’t actually chew gum at residence; they principally chew gum outdoors the house. However sweet and chocolate gross sales went up as a result of individuals prefer to snack once they’re sitting on the sofa watching a film or taking part in board video games with their household, so that they’re shopping for packs of sweet and baggage of chocolate.

What are the tendencies and patterns that you just’re seeing now, Blas? How did client snacking habits change between, say, mid-2020 and right now?

Blas Maquivar: I believe what we’re seeing now aren’t new tendencies, however moderately tendencies that existed earlier than the pandemic and are accelerating. One massive development is the digital default, as we name it: digital procuring has quintupled over the previous 18 months. One other massive client development is what we name “again to nature and again to residence.” We found new actions and rituals inside our houses throughout COVID-19 lockdowns: cooking, taking part in board video games, watching extra films with household, inviting a number of mates over to get pleasure from being at residence. A 3rd development is well being and wellness: shoppers are extra conscious of what they’re consuming and extra conscious of their psychological well being.

The problem will not be figuring out these tendencies—we already know them, and the vast majority of the trade is aware of them. The true problem is what you do about it: having the pace and agility to be one step forward of the competitors and to please shoppers as they’re embracing these tendencies.

Monica Toriello: What are some examples of how Mars Wrigley has been agile and progressive throughout this international pandemic?

Blas Maquivar: One instance is that we accelerated the constructing of digital capabilities throughout our markets; we’re actually investing in proficient associates. We additionally remodeled—and are persevering with to remodel—our portfolio to fulfill the buyer from that digital angle, as a result of the portfolio that may win in a Carrefour or a Walmart or a comfort retailer will not be essentially the portfolio that may win in digital.

In India, we launched a web-based Snickers retailer in partnership with Swiggy, which is likely one of the essential digital gamers in India. Additionally, understanding that buyers had been celebrating loads at residence, we doubled down on our My M&Ms digital retailer, the place you possibly can ship your {photograph} or a cherished one’s {photograph} and get it printed on M&Ms. In case you’re having a marriage or a celebration, you possibly can personalize M&Ms with any emblem or phrases or footage you need printed on the sweet. One other instance from Mexico: now we have a chocolate gifting model referred to as Turin, and we opened a Turin digital retailer.

Digital, or e-commerce, represents low to mid-single digits of our complete enterprise. Our intent is to have it turn out to be 20 p.c of our enterprise.

I may give you a lot examples the place our manufacturers tripled down on the digital world. The context of all of that is that digital, or e-commerce, represents low to mid-single digits of our complete enterprise. Our intent is to have it turn out to be 20 p.c of our enterprise.

As for the well being and wellness development, a technique we’ve been agile is thru our intense international enlargement of the KIND model, which could be very well-known in North America. We now promote KIND within the UK, Saudi Arabia, Australia, et cetera. Bringing the KIND model internationally to seize that well being and wellness development that we’re seeing in snacking could be very excessive on our agenda.

Successful within the digital world

Monica Toriello: While you say “double down” or “triple down” on digital capabilities, I think about that partly means hiring new expertise. How has Mars Wrigley attracted digital expertise once you’re competing in opposition to firms in virtually each trade for that expertise?

Blas Maquivar: I imagine crucial problem that we have to sort out is expertise and capabilities. If we get that proper, the remaining will come. And also you’re proper: it’s a combat for digital expertise. I imagine our most necessary benefit is that we’re one of many few massive family-owned firms on the planet. That brings one thing very particular to the Mars tradition, within the sense of freedom, accountability, mutuality, and the best way we deal with our associates. Additionally, the Mars Inc. function of doing what is true right now in order that we will have a brilliant tomorrow ties into Mars Wrigley’s function of “creating higher moments to make the world smile,” and the mixture of those two has allowed us to draw the precise expertise.

Is it straightforward? No. However I can let you know that within the majority of cases, we’re capable of appeal to the expertise that we’d like due to these two massive buckets: being household owned and being a purpose-driven firm.

Monica Toriello: We’ll speak extra about function somewhat later. For now, a tactical query: What’s working in e-commerce? You talked about Snickers and My M&Ms and Turin. What are a number of the classes you’ve realized in your experiments with on-line channels?

Blas Maquivar: E-commerce or digital has sub-elements and completely different enterprise fashions. You’ve the Walmarts or the Carrefours on-line, and pure performs like Amazon. However then you definately even have food-delivery gamers like Deliveroo within the UK, darkish kitchens,1 and transportation gamers like Uber. All of those are completely different, and the buyer makes use of them for various jobs, various things. In meals supply, for instance, the function of our manufacturers is extra of a snack on the finish of the meal or a chunk of gum to freshen your breath after consuming Indian meals.

So we’d like a bespoke resolution for every of those enterprise fashions. Digital might be our most necessary development alternative, however there’s no one-size-fits-all resolution. We are able to’t use the identical portfolio, the identical model with the identical worth, the identical format, and the identical packaging to win throughout all of those parts.

Reaching the emerging-market client

Monica Toriello: Talking of bespoke options, I think about that the treats and snacks market within the UK is fairly completely different from the market in, say, Asia. How would you characterize the treats and snacks trade in rising markets? And have you ever discovered any massive “unlocks”—any significantly profitable methods to get shoppers in rising markets to purchase extra Mars Wrigley merchandise?

Blas Maquivar: Everybody snacks. A Mexican, an Egyptian, an American—everybody snacks. What adjustments is what they snack on and the place they purchase it.

Within the emerging-market world, the vast majority of snacking is baked items—cookies and biscuits—adopted by salty snacks, like corn chips and potato chips. After that, however fairly far down the listing, is chocolate, as a result of chocolate is dearer than a cookie. The components to make chocolate—cacao, sugar, milk—are considerably dearer than the wheat to make a cookie. Within the developed world, it’s the opposite manner round. Chocolate and biscuits and cookies principally have the identical penetration.

So our job in rising markets is to determine easy methods to develop not simply our market share however the dimension of the classes during which we compete—for instance, chocolate. The emerging-market client, on common, eats 500 grams of chocolate per 12 months. Within the developed world, shoppers eat 5 kilograms of chocolate per 12 months—that’s ten instances extra. So our job is to determine what we have to do to extend these 500 grams to at least one kilogram, one and a half, two. It can take years, generations, to try this. However now we have to do it as a result of the secret is penetration and attain. How can we improve the penetration and attain of chocolate?

We imagine there are specific penetration obstacles that we have to take away. It begins with psychological availability. How can we be sure that the emerging-market client is conscious of our manufacturers? We have to have best-in-class promoting, supported with very strong media funding: TV, radio, et cetera. That unlocks the psychological availability.

The second facet is bodily availability. As soon as Indians or Mexicans or Egyptians are conscious of the model referred to as Snickers or M&Ms, once they go to their favourite store, they should discover that model. We have to have the precise pricing, packaging, and show, anchored in the precise path to market, to have the ability to attain the hundreds of thousands of mom-and-pop shops in rising markets, in addition to the convenience-store channel, different brick-and-mortar shops, and now the digital world. Right this moment, chocolate doesn’t actually have bodily and digital availability in rising markets. In case you go to 10 shops in rising markets, one can find chocolate in lower than 5, however one can find cookies and biscuits in all ten. So, by means of the precise pricing, packaging, show, and path to market, we’ll break the barrier of bodily availability.

Lastly, we have to guarantee that our merchandise do the precise job for the precise event. Individuals snack for various causes. We snack as a result of we’re somewhat bit hungry and it’s nonetheless two hours earlier than lunch. Or you might be watching a film with your loved ones and also you wish to share some candies. These events can’t be glad by the identical format. It’s very tough, for instance, to chop a Snickers bar into ten items and provides one piece to every of your loved ones members; your arms will get sticky. M&Ms play a sharing function significantly better than Snickers. So having the precise codecs to fulfill the precise jobs is the ultimate unlocker of penetration.

These three issues—psychological availability, bodily availability, and having the precise codecs—will translate into 500 grams of chocolate changing into 700 grams, one kilogram, two kilograms, and so forth till we, hopefully, will attain the developed-market per capita quantity. However, once more, that may take generations.

Monica Toriello: I think about one other unlock is localizing tastes and flavors to align with the preferences of shoppers in a market, proper? Do you will have a favourite taste or product that’s obtainable solely in rising markets?

Blas Maquivar: I’m Mexican, so I really like spicy meals. It’s quite common for Mexicans so as to add spiciness to fruit, like a spicy mango or spicy pineapple. In Mexico, now we have manufacturers referred to as Lucas and Skwinkles. Think about Skittles, however tremendous spicy, with tamarind spices and chili flavors. That’s considered one of my favorites. Additionally, in Mexico now we have a model referred to as Turin that I discussed earlier. It’s chocolate, however we add somewhat little bit of liquor—now we have partnerships with firms like Diageo, so we add Baileys or whisky into the chocolate—and it’s an grownup proposition. I can identify plenty of different examples. Many nations have what we name native jewels: manufacturers which are completely different and tailored to the native client.

Translating function into motion

Monica Toriello: I used to be Mars’s company web site and I used to be struck by the prominence and pervasiveness of the phrases “function” and “sustainability”; they’re on virtually each web page of the positioning. A few of our listeners are in all probability pondering, “These are simply buzzwords that firms throw round on a regular basis.” How does Mars’s function—“The world we wish tomorrow begins with how we do enterprise right now”—present itself in your life and within the day-to-day work of Mars’s staff?

Blas Maquivar: Mars Wrigley’s function, which stems straight from Mars Inc.’s function, is “creating higher moments to make the world smile.” We imagine our function is to place a smile on everybody who is available in contact with us. It begins with our associates and the best way we develop, compensate, and interact them. In return, our associates will resolve to stick with us, and they are going to be motivated to place a smile on the faces of the individuals in our worth chain.

How can we deal with our cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire, for instance? We assist them succeed. We offer information, capital, financing. We be sure that we purchase cocoa solely from farms that don’t rent youngsters. In return, the cocoa farmer will resolve to proceed to farm cocoa in order that now we have sufficient cocoa to supply our candies.

For the buyer, we offer the perfect merchandise doable, with top quality. Now we have a advertising and marketing code that we don’t promote to youngsters. On our labeling, we’re very clear about our components. So we place a smile on the buyer, and in return the buyer decides to purchase our merchandise.

As for our prospects, we assist them develop the chocolate, gum, or fruity confections class of their companies by offering know-how. We assist them revenue and develop, and we put a smile on them. And if we each prosper, now we have a greater world.

That’s the best way we see it. And we imply it—these usually are not phrases that I simply invented. That is my every day life. Each resolution I make is guided by “am I inserting a smile on somebody?” That’s how we attempt to deliver our company function to life.

Monica Toriello: What’s your response to somebody who says, “However, Blas, snack firms contribute to well being situations like weight problems and diabetes. How does that sq. with Mars Wrigley’s function?”

Blas Maquivar: I’m tremendous happy with our merchandise, and I actually imagine there may be area in everybody’s life for chocolate and gum, as long as they’re consuming it responsibly. I fully agree with you that there’s weight problems, diabetes, hypertension, you identify it—and Mars Wrigley needs to be a part of the answer.

What are we doing about it? First, we provide choices. In our chocolate manufacturers, we provide merchandise which are under 250 or 200 energy. In our labeling, we’re very clear about our components, the variety of energy, the quantity of sugar. We don’t promote to youngsters; we don’t use characters to persuade youngsters to purchase issues; we don’t promote on to center colleges and under. We provide choices like KIND and Nature’s Bakery. So the buyer has choices.

We’re additionally working with others throughout the trade. Once I was main the UK, I used to be a part of a meals manufacturing trade group that labored hand in hand with the federal government on a holistic method to the weight problems epidemic, for instance, as a result of that requires training, the precise insurance policies, et cetera. In abstract, I’m very happy with what we do. We aren’t turning a blind eye to the scenario. We wish to be a part of the answer.

A worthwhile management lesson

Monica Toriello: Let’s finish with a future-of-work query. Earlier, you talked about your prepandemic journey schedule. Mars has mentioned that it’s going to lower enterprise journey by at the very least half in contrast with 2019 ranges. How do you see your journey schedule altering? What does the future of labor appear like for you?

Blas Maquivar: Earlier than COVID-19, I used to be touring about 75 p.c of the time. In case you ask my spouse about this, she is going to in all probability reply you in a unique tone. Anyway, I used to be touring that a lot as a result of my model of management is connecting, inspiring, touching the hearts and minds of individuals, and the best way I attempted to try this was by being there—seen management.

However I can let you know now that I used to be incorrect. The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced me one thing constructive, which is to understand that even when I’m not doing heavy touring, I don’t have to lose my essence as a frontrunner who needs to be current and needs to encourage.

I do, in fact, nonetheless see myself touring—as a result of there may be nonetheless a necessity for bodily connection—however undoubtedly not on the ranges that I used to. I believe I’ll be touring round 40 p.c of my time as a substitute of 75 p.c. Many issues that I used to do by touring, I now know easy methods to do by means of the digital world: by means of videoconferences, digital “breakfasts with Blas,” or chats with small teams of associates. I’ve realized that connection and inspiration might be achieved within the digital world. So with out having all of the solutions—as a result of nobody is aware of for certain, actually—I do see a world with much less journey and with rather more flexibility, however nonetheless with a necessity for bodily connection.

Monica Toriello: Properly, I’m completely happy for your loved ones; they get to spend so much extra time with you now. Thanks, Blas, to your insights and your candor. This was a enjoyable dialog. To our listeners, thanks for tuning in. I want you all a contented and secure and candy Halloween!