Irene Rosenfeld’s strategy is packing more goodness into Kraft

World’s confectioner big mama Kraft has been on a rapid and aggressive turn around mission since the 29 year old food and beverage veteran Irene Rosenfeld took on the reins as CEO plus Chairman. Irene had chalked out a three-year old turn around plan to give Kraft a profitable growth. She had a plan for and about, the developing countries and its now seeing some action and results. Kraft will start making Tang powdered beverage and chocolate next year at a new plant in Brazil, fueling expansion in faster-growing developing markets. The strategy is to use Cadbury’s strength in those regions and prove to investors that the merger makes sense. Kraft now gets about one-quarter of its almost $50 billion in sales from emerging markets because of Cadbury.

The $50 million Brazilian plant, in the Northeastern state of Pernambuco, will employ 600 people and may also eventually make Trident gum, a Cadbury brand whose Brazilian sales have climbed 30 percent this year, Kraft Brazil president Marcos Grasso said in an interview. In Brazil, Russia and China, Rosenfeld plans to channel Cadbury’s Trident gum through Kraft’s existing distribution and manufacturing systems. In India and Mexico, Rosenfeld says, the strategy is about pushing Kraft’s Oreos and Lacta chocolate through Cadbury’s network of small mom-and-pop stores.

Besides expanding product range and getting into new markets, Irene also wants Kraft to be the voice to promote better nutrition and eating habits. Several product enhancements and social activities Kraft has started carries this essence.In Brazil, Kraft Food foundation has started activities with local schools and societies to bring awareness of health and nutrition among children and parents. Kraft wants to be more than just a snack or a biscuit. The efforts the brand has initiated in Brazil is a continuing demonstration of Kraft Foods’ commitment to health and wellness. Earlier this year, the company announced plans to reduce sodium by an average of 10% across its North American portfolio of products, including crackers. And over the past five years, Kraft Foods has reformulated about one in four products in the United States to make them better for consumers.

“We’re accelerating our efforts in health and wellness because it’s good for consumers and good for business,” said Rhonda Jordan, President, Global Health & Wellness, Kraft Foods.. “Whether it’s adding more whole grain, reducing sodium or removing calories from our products, we’re making the foods consumers love even better.”

Acquisition of Cadbury was one of the biggest and noted one in the recent business history. With a single buyout, $42B Kraft food got its entry ticket into India and other handful of emerging and developing countries where Cadbury had string presence. For Cadbury which owns brands such as Cadbury’s Dairy Milk and Bournville, India is one of its most resilient markets with sales growth of 20% and profits growing at 30% in a competitive market. It is no surprise that one-quarter of its almost $50 billion in sales is coming from emerging markets because of Cadbury.

Irene began her career at Dancer Fitzgerald Sample advertising agency, working in consumer research.  She then joined General Foods, which Irene Rosenfeldlater became part of Kraft Foods.  Among her many accomplishments at Kraft Foods, Irene led the restructuring and turnaround of key businesses in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.  Career highlights also include serving on the team that spearheaded the company’s initial public offering in 2001 and successfully integrated the Nabisco and LU biscuits businesses.From 2004 to 2006, Irene was Chairman and CEO of Frito-Lay. While there, she accelerated growth in better-for-you products and developed a pipeline of successful health and wellness offerings.
Forbes has named Irene one of the world’s “100 Most Powerful Women” and Fortune ranks her No. 2 on its “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” list.

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