MUMBAI: Cadbury India, a name which has had a sweet connect with consumers for over six decades now, will soon be rechristened Mondelez India, after its US-based parent company Mondelez International (written as Mondelcz International and pronounced as mon-dah-leez), which had acquired Cadbury Plc globally in 2010. The move is expected to coincide with the company moving out of its iconic headquarters ‘Cadbury House’ at the busy junction in the uppity Peddar Road in Mumbai in June this year, Cadbury India managing director Manu Anand told TOI in an interview.
Cadbury House, and the accompanying Bournville Apartments — where the company’s top officials reside — was sold to diamond merchant Dilip Lakhi for under Rs 400 crore late last year. While the name Mondelez does not have a great recall among consumers in India, Anand believes that wouldn’t clash with the popularity of its household brands such as Cadbury Dairy Milk, 5-Star, Gems and now Tang and Oreo. Mondelez is the new corporate identity for the erstwhile Kraft Foods after a restructuring two years back. The Indian arm is now following suit. The global acquisition also prompted a culture change at the largest chocolate maker that has been in India since 1948.
The name change signals a makeover of sorts for the Brit-turned-American confectioner, which aims to become the largest snacking company in the country. “We are a multi platform company and obviously we want to be the number one snacking company,” Anand said, spelling out his vision for the organization.
Name changes are not new to multinationals operating in India. In 2007, Unilever’s Indian subsidiary got rechristened as Hindustan Unilever. So strong was the Indian connection to Unilever that it retained ‘Hindustan’ in its corporate name in India, which is perhaps the only exception in the Unilever universe.
But, as they say, brands speak louder to consumers than the names of their makers. Several FMCG companies, including Britannia, Parle, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Colgate, Dabur and Emami, have strong association with consumers for the products they make, whether it’s biscuits, toothpastes, beverages, hair oils or skin creams.
Anand, who took over as MD of the roughly Rs 4,000-crore Cadbury India in October last year, does not feel it necessary to conduct an awareness drive on the name change. But the move does reflect a certain sense of urgency to mirror Mondelez International’s global portfolio in India. What bolsters this view is the fact that India is a fast-growing market not just for chocolates but for biscuits as well.
“Today, within Mondelez, we are the fourth largest country in Oreo in volumes today, after the US, China and Brazil,” said Anand.
Anand is not in a great hurry either. The soon-to-be-named Mondelez India wants to consolidate on the existing platforms by growing through innovations. Recent ones include 5 Star Chomp, a new orange flavour in Oreo and Tang Mango. The former PepsiCo India head wants to gradually add to the portfolio, with the first priority being on maximizing the growth of each category before spreading the net wide.
“We have got good momentum in our categories and there is so much more innovation that can drive consumer trials,” said Anand. He also feels that the economy has bottomed out and sales have picked up since the beginning of the year. Under Anand, Cadbury strategy is focused on “innovation, infrastructure and the brand”.
India is a key country in Mondelez International’s global scheme and the focus, said Anand, will be on the power brands. Besides Cadbury, Oreo and Tang, the $36-billion Mondelcz International’s portfolio includes billion-dollar brands Milka chocolate, Jacobs coffee, Toblerone, Nabisco and Trident gums. As the company prepares to vacate Cadbury House and move into its new corporate office in Lower Parel in June, one wonders what would be the fate of the iconic name of the building which has popularized the junction where it exists?