Mondelez wants to use behavioural science to nudge people to snack 'mindfully'

Mary Barnard, president for Northern Europe at Mondelez said the company wants to "nudge" people into snacking mindfully rather than "mindless munching".

Mondelez: snacking giant wants to help consumers snack
Mondelez: snacking giant wants to help consumers snack

Speaking at the IGD Big Debate in London, Barnard set out the company's ambition to be a healthier snacking company by 2020 and its plans to "distort" its innovation investment into exploring ways to reformulate and add nutritious ingredients such as whole grains. 

She said: "Part of the role we can play is to use the power of our brands to influence consumers and help them snack more mindfully."

It's not about manipulating but playing on external things that influence behaviours

"We see headlines about health everyday... It's something that concerns me as a business leader and a mum.

"You may be a bit cynical about a snacking business has to say [but] we are a responsible business and if we want to be around in another 100 years we need to step up."

She added, however that the business could not do it "alone" and referenced the McKinsey government report into obesity as a signal that industry needed to pull together to "contribute to public policy goals".

With eating habits evolving as a result of macro trends including the decline of stay at home mums and the rise of single parent households, the opportunity in snacking was growing, she said, particularly around 'on the go' snacking. 

"Globally consumers are trying to pack more into their day so time to shop and eat is pressed.... We need to nudge for good.

"Behavioural science is an interesting area, it is possible to nudge consumers in different ways. It's not about manipulating but playing on external things that influence behaviours."

To that end the business would continue to invest in ways to help consumers snack more responsibly and go "beyond" compliance and regulation to affect positive change.