Jennifer Moss, Chief R&D Officer at pladis global talks to Editor Caitlin Gittins about addressing a need for modernising classics to meet new demands from consumers
Please introduce yourself and what you do?
I’m Jennifer Moss – the Chief R&D & Quality Food Safety Officer for pladis, one of the world’s largest biscuit, chocolate and confectionary companies. Throughout my career, which included a decade with Campbell Soup Company and 11 years at Unilever, I’ve embraced my passion for innovating to meet consumers’ needs.
The pladis portfolio of iconic brands includes McVitie’s, Godiva, Carr’s, Jacob’s, and Ulker. This gives me and my team a unique (but nice to have!) challenge. How do we balance our stewardship of products that people have loved for generations, with the need to innovate to meet evolving tastes?
It’s why I love being at pladis. At its heart are the delicious products we make and central to that is the work our bakers and chocolatiers do. It’s exciting to be part of a team that is so deeply embedded in the company’s ambition to be the fastest growing snacking company.
What are the most influential consumer trends right now that are impacting the confectionery industry and how do they vary in the markets you operate in?
Taste is everything. Whatever we do, create or change, we want consumers to love the taste of pladis’ biscuits and chocolates. We want them to feel happiness with every bite. There are two global trends that are shaping our industry today and that are a major focus for my team. The first is sustainability. Employees, customers and consumers want to feel confident that, whether baking or making, selling or enjoying one of our products, it was sourced and made responsibly.
The second is the growing focus on healthy snacking. My team is always looking at how we adapt our products and pipeline to accommodate changing tastes and nutritional requirements.
These issues are critical to pladis. If you spent a day with my team you’d hear conversations about sustainable cocoa and wheat initiatives, innovative ways to improve product formulation and new packaging solutions to reduce waste, all while keeping the taste of our iconic brands consistent and creating amazing new tastes and products!
How are you responding to demand for healthier products and where do you see this demand being strongest? How do you flexibly respond to evolving consumer demands for healthier products and other significant trends?
Some of pladis’ products have been around for centuries. They’re part of the fabric of society. We’re always looking at how we keep our iconic brands relevant for generations to come. This means innovating to ensure better health and nutritional profiles, while maintaining the classic flavours our consumers love.
This is a global trend and we’re putting more investment into our innovation capabilities to understand the next generation of snacking…
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