What's in a name? Kraft Foods is about to find out, after announcing today that Mondelēz International is the moniker of the corporate global snack-foods unit that it will spin off by the end of this year, as announced last August.
"Mondelay," you say? Nay, nay! No need to dust off your high school French. The new name — pronounced "Mohn-dah-LEEZ" — is a Kraft-coined word that, the company explained in a press release, is intended to evoke the idea of "delicious world."
"Monde" derives from the Latin (and French) word for "world," the company explained, and "dēlez" is a "fanciful expression of 'delicious.'" And, of course, "International" captures "the global nature of the business."
Even though it won't be consumer-facing, pronunciation will be a challenge ("mon-de-lay," "mon-de-less," or "mon-de-leez"?) for the new name which was, as it turns out, employee-sourced.
Last fall, Kraft invited staffers around the world to suggest names and received suggestions from more than 1,000 employees. The winner was inspired by separate suggestions from two employees, one in North America and one in Europe.
"For the new global snacks company, we wanted to find a new name that could serve as an umbrella for our iconic brands, reinforce the truly global nature of this business and build on our higher purpose — to 'make today delicious,'" said Irene Rosenfeld, Kraft's CEO and chairman, in a reference to Kraft Foods' tagline. "Mondelēz perfectly captures the idea of a 'delicious world' and will serve as a solid foundation for the strong relationships we want to create with our consumers, cutsomers, employees and shareholders."
"It's quite a job for a single word to capture everything about what we want the new global snacks company to stand for," commented Kraft CMO Mary Beth West to the BBC.
While 'Mondelēz' is new, under its umbrella will be a number of iconic brands including Oreo, Ritz and Trident. Other brands including Planters, Oscar Mayer and Maxwell House will remain part of a domestic (North America) grocery business that will continue to use the name Kraft, as Kraft Foods Group Inc., and house brands including Jell-O, Velveeta, Oscar Mayer, and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.
Kraft is no stranger to identity shifts. Philip Morris changed its name to Altria while it owned Kraft and the two became separate entities in 2007 (or, more accurately, Kraft spun off from its parent).
Establishment of the Mondelēz handle still awaits formalities such as shareholder approval at Kraft's annual meeting on May 23. But the company — which also announced layoffs earlier this year — must be optimistic: It already has reserved the stock symbol MDLZ.