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Mondelez looks to solve snack aisle challenges

Shopper Futures invites tech startups to pitch ideas

The future of shopping is digital—even for crackers, cookies and chocolate bar brands.

Mondelez International has launched a mobile marketing initiative called Shopper Futures, which invites tech startups to pitch ideas on how to solve shopper challenges in the snack category.

Startups in Canada and the U.S. can apply online until June 27. On Aug. 5 and 6, Mondelez International will host a pitch day at the company’s office in East Hanover, N.J.

Nine final startups will receive funding to work with a team of marketers from brands such as Oreo, Halls, Ritz and Cadbury, as well as a not-yet-named retail partner. The teams will then collaborate to design a 90-day pilot.

The aim is to “develop real-life solutions to help us grow our categories in store,” said Kristi Karens, director, media and consumer engagement at Mondelez Canada.

“We’re focused on moving quickly to scale what works and—as we are doing with all of our innovation programs—focusing on a specific measurement plan to evaluate the success.”

The program builds on Mondelez International’s Mobile Futures program, which launched in 2012. The program paired brands with startups to accelerate existing mobile innovations and incubate new ventures. While mobile is still a big part of Shopper Futures, the program is not limited to that space.

This time around, Mondelez International is casting its net around a variety of areas, including proximity marketing, beacons, ecommerce, packaging technologies, loyalty and rewards, augmented reality, and mobile payments and the checkout experience.

One shopper challenge today, for example, is that when customers are at the checkout, they’re looking at their phones instead of the impulse items for sale near the till. So one potential mobile solution might address how to engage shoppers who are already on their phones at the checkout.

“We’re really just following the consumer ,” said Karens. “It’s all about making it easier and simpler for consumers to engage with our brands and then ultimately find value that helps drive a purchase decision.”

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