Big Interview: Blas Maquivar

In a session from Confectionery Live, Blas Maquivar, President GEM at Mars Wrigley shares with Editor Caitlin Gittins how they’re keeping a trained eye on growing markets 

Please introduce yourself and your role and responsibilities at Mars Wrigley?  

I am the Regional President for Global Emerging Markets. This role includes leading our chocolate, gum, fruity confectionery brands like M&Ms, Snickers, Twix, Skittles and more in emerging markets like Mexico, Brazil, India, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, India, et cetera. Where we consider growing or emerging markets is within my region, and this equals to more than 140 markets. 

This is a lot of ground to cover. I’m fortunate to be working with great leaders in these markets leading our business. 

How has snacking evolved and what role do you see it playing in the future? 

I see snacking as a vibrant category which is growing and what is reflecting this growth is the change in consumers’ lives and their mindsets, such as the need to socialise and unwind, or indulging in snacking in between meals. 

This translates to a rise in snacking and the growth of the market. It’s not a stagnant market; the way consumers snack today is very different to how they were snacking 25 years ago. 

One major thing we see evolving or changing is this piece around socialisation that became more evident post-pandemic. This need to socialise with loved ones or invite our friends to our home and watch a film or host a dinner is all an opportunity to bring snacking to the table. 

Another aspect is this drive towards healthier snacking which reflects consumers’ need for better-for-you snacks. This is not replacing the indulgence of the normal snacking that we know necessarily but it is becoming a greater priority. 

We’ve invested in our healthier brands like KIND, which is present in countries including North America, the UK and parts of Asia, which offer consumers a better-for-you option.  

The final aspect is how consumers shop today. When I was a teenager in Mexico City, I would visit my corner shop to buy snacks. Now this has all changed with the rise of e-commerce, although what we refer to as ‘mom and pop’ traditional trade continues to be relevant. 

Do you think e-commerce and social media will continue to play a big role in how consumers purchase snacks? 

The quick answer is yes. It will represent a bigger portion of our sales. E-commerce will continue to grow at an accelerated pace, but it is not in isolation that that e-commerce exists. It not only acts as a shopping vehicle where I can buy things, but it also acts as an advertising vehicle where we at Mars are able to broadcast our brands. 

The second aspect is that they interact with the physical world a lot. Let me give you an example: I was in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and we visited this quick delivery company. What’s noticeable about this company is that they are partnering with the mom-and-pop store owners which means when they receive an order, they connect with the mom-and-pop store…

Read the full feature in our magazine.

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Media contact

Caitlin Gittins
Editor, International Confectionery
Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 920

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