What Mondelez has in store for Halloween

From Shopper Marketing Report: How the company plans to drive 50% growth and what changes are coming for other holidays.


With many more Canadians celebrating the spooky time of year, Mondelez is expecting a big Halloween in 2021.

This summer, Mondelez Canada commissioned a survey exploring consumers’ perception of the 2021 festive season, including Halloween, revealing 61% intend to do more for Halloween, compared to 42% who celebrated in 2020. And when it comes to spending, the company reports over a third of these consumers intend to buy more salty snacks, chocolates, and candies for Halloween.

Martin Parent, president of Mondelez Canada, anticipates an overall increase in Halloween business, and this leadership foresight positions the company to emerge stronger after the pandemic, with an expected 50% revenue growth from 2020.

Parent tells strategy that the “all-in-one” shopping trip that benefited grocery stores during lockdowns is gradually returning to normal and giving multiple store locations, mass merchants and discounters more of a place in regular shopping habits again.

But one thing that is consistent is that consumer behaviour is continuing to trend online, so Mondelez is also working closely with the likes of Walmart, Voila, Loblaw and Amazon and other key partners in the digital commerce space.

“As [ecomm] continues to grow, it’s now becoming a much more integral part of the portfolio,” Parent says. It’s not yet 10%, he says, but over the next three or four years it’ll represent an opportunity to drive volume, which helps the company convert on different packaging sizes and offerings.

Those different offerings are going to be key as consumer behaviour normalizes during the high-volume holiday season. Variety of selection is very important in the digital space, and Parent says Mondelez is testing different formats, including special “ecomm packs,” as shoppers continue to evolve how they shop.

But new formats aren’t just important online. In the last couple of years, after imposing stricter measures in manufacturing, Mondelez had to make choices that included optimizing the portfolio, bringing back SKUs based around pack size to meet consumer demands.

“Innovation is always great, but what we wanted to do this year was to supply what the market was demanding,” Parent explains. He says, this year, that Halloween demand is focused on large packs, and the company is focusing on delivering by adding more capacity.

Over the last 18 months, Canadians have been snacking more, Parent reports, with a 60% increase early on during lockdowns that’s now hovering around 20% to 30% versus previous habits. Pack sizes are important here too, and Mondelez has many different ones to address different occasions during the day – both ones that emerged during the pandemic and ones that may “re-emerge” as behaviours normalize.

Outside of confectionery, Crispers and Bits and Bites, Parent says, compete directly with salty snacks and have been growing at high double digits, and by the end of this year, it will have doubled 2018 business. “It’s very expandable, just like chocolate,” he says.

Around Halloween, Parent says, there’s always a huge spike in demand, particularly with Sour Patch Kids, which continues to generate interest not only among younger end users, but also as a Halloween treat purchased by parents.

In terms of seasonality, Halloween is critical regarding individual consumption bars like Mr. Big and Crispy Crunch, while the upcoming festive season is really important for Cadbury Dairy Milk and Toblerone.

This season, there also remains continued interest in what Parent calls “traditional favourites,” like Mr. Big, Wunderbar, Caramilk and Crispy Crunch. When it comes to messaging, he says this time of year represents an opportunity for rediscovering historical favorites as Canadians in general are more open to gatherings and Trick or Treating.