Mondelez International has been able to boost sales despite an “unease” among worldwide consumers, CEO Dirk Van de Put told CNBC’s Jim Cramer Tuesday.
“If I look at food [companies], they’re doing pretty good,” Van de Put he said in a “Mad Money” interview. “I would say as it relates to their overall life circumstances and how the middle class feels … the lower class — they don’t feel well at the moment.”
Geopolitical issues, such as Great Britain’s impending breakup with the European Union, is causing uncertainty and weighing on overall consumer confidence, Van de Put said.
But the packaged food company has found success by adapting to changing consumer tastes, especially those of millennials, said Van de Put, who has led the company since the end of 2017. That demographic of shoppers has demanded more and more snack products, he added.
“They’re snacking, well, because it’s a lifestyle change,” he said. “Consumers are more on-the-go, they eat more out of [the] home — millennials particularly don’t really want to sit down and have a big meal. They want to sort of fuel themselves, and they eat 7 times a day, so snacking is really growing as a habit and also the market is growing as a consequence of that.”
The Illinois-based parent of Nabisco, Oreo, Philadelphia Cream Cheese and other recognizable brands recorded nearly 4% organic sales growth and more than 8% growth in emerging markets in its April quarterly earnings report. The stock has rallied nearly 30% this year.
Mondelez has also relied on its research team to leverage the fact that food consumption differs in each market. Take China, where the snack manufacturer successfully rolled out an Oreo campaign and entered the wafers segment that connected with the local customer.
“I don’t think consumers … want to eat the same thing all over the world, and we’re trying to adapt to that,” Van de Put said. “We try to get local insight and talk to [consumers], listen to them, observe their snacking behaviors and they will tell you if they like it or they don’t like it and from there we develop our product.”
Van de Put hinted at more growth on the horizon in the domestic market with the company’s premium cookie Tate’s, which it began selling after acquiring Tate’s Bake Shop in May 2018 for $500 million. The fast-growing brand also makes other baked goods.
“It’s on fire. It’s really growing very fast. It still isn’t in every store in the U.S., so it’s huge potential,” he said. “And in the store it’s in, it doesn’t have enough space. It needs more space because it’s out of stock all the time.”
Shares of Mondelez fell 2.23% during the session Tuesday. The stock is $2 off its all-time high, set in mid-May.
WATCH: Cramer sits down with Mondelez CEO Dirk Van de Put
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