With Its New Véa Brand, Mondelez Makes a Big Millennial Bet

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Credit: Mondelēz International

Mondelēz International, known for traditional snacks like Oreo, Ritz and Wheat Thins, has launched a brand to go after millennials' hunger for healthier options and unique ingredients.

The brand, Véa (pronounced vay-a), is an acknowledgment by the company that while people still want to snack, they want food they feel better about eating.

Consumer tastes and snacking habits have been changing. People say they want healthier products and more are craving snacks on the savory side. A growing number of vegetable chips, jerky and other products are on the market, and non-traditional chip flavors, including cauliflower, avocado with black beans, and coconut, ranked high in recent Nielsen research.

Véa's ingredients include butternut squash, chick peas, coconut and quinoa. The company says its seed crackers, mini-crunch bars and what it describes as "world crisps" have no artificial colors or flavors, and are Non-GMO Project Verified.

Ads begin with a focus on people from different backgrounds. "In the world of crackers, now there's a cracker inspired by the world," a voiceover says in a commercial debuting Monday. The tagline is "Find your way to real."

The line is aimed at millennials for whom "food is an adventure," said Jason Levine, VP of North America biscuit marketing at Mondelēz.

Mondelēz said it brought the brand to market quickly, within about 18 months from concept to launch, using research to hit the right notes, including partnering with Google to get consumer feedback. For now, Véa is only available in the U.S. and Canada, with plans to expand into other countries over time.

In March 2016, Mondelēz introduced another well-being snack brand, Good Thins, a savory line touted for using real ingredients and no artificial flavors or colors. Good Thins reached about $90 million in retail sales in its first year. And there are less-guilty versions of established company brands, including Oreo Thins and Ritz Crisp & Thins, which are marketed as being lower in fat than potato chips.

"It's a fanciful name with a nice Latin root, meant to signify a voyage or a journey," Chief Growth Officer Tim Cofer told Ad Age in February when Mondelēz announced plans for Véa's July debut. "We wanted to build a global brand from scratch."

Levine declined to say how much will be spent on marketing, which includes TV and online commercials, along with in-store sampling and other methods. With the millennial-minded focus, plans include publishing content with Mic and Insider, outreach through unnamed influencers and campaigns specifically for Facebook and Instagram.

Agencies working on Véa include McGarryBowen on creative, VaynerMedia on digital, Carat on media, WeberShandwick on public relations and Bulletproof on packaging.

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