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The future is sweet for Birmingham

Mondelez International

This blog post has been produced for the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce to provide insight on the findings of the Birmingham Economic Review.

The Birmingham Economic Review 2019 is produced by the University of Birmingham’s City-REDI and the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, with contributions from the West Midlands Growth Company. It is an in-depth exploration of the economy of England’s second city and is a high quality resource for organisations seeking to understand Birmingham to inform research, policy or investment decisions.

This post is featured in the full Birmingham Economic Review 2019 and the Summary Review. These are available here.

Mondelēz International is one of the world’s largest snacks companies and produces many much-loved brands such as Oreo, Cadbury Dairy Milk, Belvita, Green and Blacks, Toblerone, Milka, Maynards Bassets, Trebor and Ritz. We manufacture biscuits, chocolate, gum and candy products, which are sold in 150 countries around the world. In the UK we employ 4,000 people and have a rich heritage dating back to 1824 when Cadbury was founded in Birmingham.

Over the last seven years we have invested £200 million in our UK business. This includes £75 million into new machinery at our Bournville factory securing the next generation of manufacturing at this iconic site. We have also grown our Research, Development and Quality (RDQ) facilities during that period and we are now one of the largest food research groups in the UK. We’re enormously proud that Bournville is at the heart of our global business.

Every Cadbury product, no matter where in the world it is sold, starts out life in the Bournville Global Centre of Excellence for Chocolate Research. Home to over 260 scientists, engineers, nutritionists and chocolate experts, the centre works with other Mondelēz technical hubs across the globe sharing knowledge and expertise to drive innovation across new and existing products for the UK and over 150 other countries.

The recent launch of Cadbury Dairy Milk 30% less sugar was only made possible by our team of over 20 Mondelēz International Bournville-based scientists, who took three years to perfect this most significant innovation in Cadbury’s history. Staying true to the iconic taste of Cadbury Dairy Milk has taken time and persistence by our team of experts, who focused heavily on delivering that instantly recognisable flavour and experience we all know and love.

The bar, now launched in India, the UK and Ireland, has no artificial sweeteners. We recognise that consumers want to manage their sugar intake. These new products are just one element of our ongoing strategy to increase choice across our portfolio and support people to enjoy treats, such as chocolate, in moderation as part of a balanced lifestyle.

​​​​From Birmingham to Australia, the Bournville RDQ team’s expertise is renowned and sought out across the business. In July this year a team of Bournville Scientists and Engineers partnered with our Australian Cadbury business to launch the world’s very first Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate 3D printer.

This unique printer made the trip to the other side of the world for its debut in Melbourne for World Chocolate Day on the 5th July. The machine was programmed to print all 26 letters of the alphabet as well as eight Australian themed, intricate finely printed chocolate designs, which cool instantly, ready to eat. Cadbury fans could choose from letters, shapes and iconic Australian symbols like kangaroos and even maps of Australia.

Industry leading innovation is impossible without a continual pipeline of talent. At Mondelēz International we’re ensuring the future of our innovation at Bournville by partnering with key target schools and universities, starting right here at home with the University of Birmingham. We utilise multiple pathways into our business, including internships, apprenticeships and graduate schemes to build the critical skills and the talent pool required for the future. These initiatives also enable us to bring in fresh perspective to challenge our existing approaches and techniques.

Our apprenticeship offering allows us to attract future talent who opt for both education and industry experience. The scheme has now progressed from a two-year programme (A Level) into a four-year full degree. We ensure that our apprentices are committed to 20% off-the-job learning, which can be linked to R&D project work.

For Mondelēz International, apprenticeships are our source of talent from initial entry roles through to mid-entry and beyond. For apprentices, it is a unique chance to study towards a degree in the world’s largest snacking business, without incurring any debt and building their industrial experience as they study.

At Bournville RDQ our internships are our largest investment in early careers, they are embedded across all our teams with strong return, progression and retention rates. The intern programme is a 12-month placement for students or graduates in RDQ, forming a source of talent for higher entry levels. For students it provides valuable work experience in a relevant industry to their degree.

At Mondelēz our people grow every day, they are given the freedom to master areas of expertise and have their passions supported by the business. The retention of great people and the investment in attracting new fantastic talent for the future drives our innovation capabilities forward, ensuring Bournville’s Global Centre of Chocolate Excellence is leading the future.

Ian Noble, senior director, global chocolate production, platforms and global growth, Mondelez International