Mondelez to build gum and candy R&D centre here

Singapore might be virtually a chewing-gum-free zone but that is not stopping the global snack company behind Oreos, Toblerone and Dairy Milk from building a $10 million research centre here that will focus on the sticky treat and other sweets.

Mondelez International said yesterday that it will invest US$65 million ($88.8 million) to develop a global research, development and quality network, comprising nine technical centres, around the world. The centres will host research, develop and test new products.

It will invest about $10 million to build the Centre of Excellence for Gum and Candy in Jurong.

Mondelez already has a research and development facility here, but the new investment will expand the site and add a two-storey building.

There will be two other centres in Asia. A Centre of Excellence in chocolate will be built in Thane, India, and it will refurbish a facility in Suzhou, China, to house a Centre of Excellence in biscuits.

Mr Rob Hargrove, one of the company's executive vice-presidents, said: "These hubs will enable improved efficiency, effectiveness and accelerated project delivery, while the increased scale across key markets will provide rapid access to changing consumer needs and trends."

"With these centres, we are focusing our investment in research, equipment and capabilities to drive innovation to support our growth strategy and innovation, margin and quality platforms."

The new network is aimed at making the technical centres more agile and flexible in responding to the company's growth and innovation needs.

Locating three of the nine centres in the Asia-Pacific signals the region's importance to the business, said a company spokesman by e-mail.

It cited the development of its new Oreo Thins product, an innovation developed in China. It is now being exported to the rest of the world, the company said.

Mondelez told The Straits Times earlier this year that it came up with its Cadbury Choclairs here.

The eclairs were so successful that the company started selling them in other markets, such as India, China and Mexico, after 2008.

But Mondelez said earlier this year that Singapore's tough laws on chewing gum "make it difficult to find taste testers and developers with personal experience".

The centre in Jurong is expected to be completed in the second half of next year.

Lee Xin En

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 15, 2016, with the headline 'Mondelez to build gum and candy R&D centre here'. Print Edition | Subscribe