The name, pronounced "mohn-dah-leez," is a mashup of terms to convey the idea of a "delicious world," the company said. "Monde" evokes the Latin word for "world" and "delez" conveys "delicious."
Kraft plans to make the change when it separates the international snack business from its North American grocery business before the end of the year. It has reserved the ticker symbol MDLZ for the new company, which is expected to have annual revenue of $35 billion. As previously announced, the North American grocery business will be named Kraft Foods Group.
"Mondelez perfectly captures the idea of a 'delicious world' and will serve as a solid foundation for the strong relationships we want to create with our consumers, customers, employees and shareholders," said Kraft Chairman-CEO Irene Rosenfeld in a press release.
The Mondelez moniker was inspired by input from two employees who last fall were among Kraft's thousands of workers asked to suggest names. The new name requires approval from shareholders, who will meet May 23.
It might be questioned whether the name, which doesn't exactly roll of the tongue, will catch on. Ad Age asked Stef Gans, CEO of global marketing consulting firm Effective Brands. "It strikes me as something people have been thinking about for way too long," he said. "But if it's just a corporate holding name, who cares?"
Indeed, Kraft Foods does not plan to use the name on brands, other than as a corporate identifier on the back of packages. As such, the company does not plan to spend much on spreading awareness. "It will be important, of course, for shareholders, employees and customers to know the company, but we would expect limited costs because it is not a consumer-facing brand name," said company spokesman Mike Mitchell.
Mr. Gans, a former Unilever marketer, said the fact that employees came up with the name is more important than the name itself because it might instill a sense of pride. "That has a benefit in terms of getting people motivated to do great work," he said. And that's "way more important than what [a] naming or branding expert ... feels about it."
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Kate MacArthur is a reporter for Crain's Chicago Business.