Sanjay Khosla

Kraft Foods names South Africa a priority market

South Africa is now a priority market for Kraft Foods, said Sanjay Khosla, President, Developing Markets, Kraft Foods, during a recent visit from the company’s US-based global headquarters. The amalgamation with Cadbury in 2010 gives the company a much larger footprint in the country, adding the SA market to the roster of ten priority developing markets that will receive disproportionate investment.

Khosla announced that the company is pouring $150-million into local manufacturing in Africa over the next three years for brands including Stimorol chewing gum and Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate. He said the company is also investing in increased capabilities and capacity for its R&D facilities in Johannesburg and Alexandria, which will serve as centres of excellence, not only for Africa, but the Middle East.

During his visit, Khosla also outlined his “Winning through Focus” strategy for the company’s $13-billion developing markets business – the company’s growth engine. This strategy tripled the company’s developing markets net revenues from 2006 to 2010 and is centred around three pillars: focus, “glocal” and people.

“Focus” is a big part of winning in a business with more than 100 brands in over 60 countries, he noted: “We focus on just five categories, ten power brands and ten priority markets. South Africa is a priority market for us, where we focus on power brands like Cadbury chocolate,” said Khosla. Together, these 10 markets make up the majority of the growth in the company’s developing markets business.

Khosla’s second strategic pillar, “glocal”, combines the best of global and the best of local: “We encourage independent thinking and entrepreneurship among local leaders who understand the local market, while taking full advantage of our worldwide strengths in areas like technology, sales and marketing,” said Khosla.

People is the third pillar of Khosla’s strategy. Khosla expressed that he’s investing in the development of diverse talent and future leaders who have the opportunity to gain experience not only in South Africa, but around the world: “South Africa is a great source of global talent. Regional and international mobility is a phenomenal development opportunity for our people.” With female leaders making up 50 percent of the local management team, three of whom are equity candidates, Khosla said, “South Africa’s diversity is a major competitive advantage.”