Mondelez International, Inc. (MDLZ) CEO Dirk Van De Put on 2021 Annual Meeting of Shareholders Conference Call (Transcript)

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Mondelez International, Inc. (NASDAQ:MDLZ) 2021 Annual Meeting of Shareholders Conference Call May 19, 2021 10:00 AM ET

Company Participants

Dirk Van De Put - Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Ellen Smith - Senior Vice President, Chief Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer & Corporate Secretary

Brandon Rees - Deputy Director, Corporation & Capital Markets, AFL-CIO

Lois Juliber - Chair of our Board, Human Resources & Compensation Committee

Russell Dyer - ‎Vice President & Chief of Communications & Government Affairs

Luca Zaramella - Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer

Paulette Alviti - Chief People Officer

Conference Call Participants

Dirk Van De Put

[Call starts abruptly]

…and Hu, a premium well-being lifestyle brand in the U.S.

These continued investments were matched by effective cost mitigation initiatives that also helped further simplify our business. We simplified our SKU offering to focus on our core portfolio and took steps to address complexity in our supply chain. As a consequence, in 2020, we delivered another year of strong organic net revenue growth. This growth was supported by record market share gains, with 80% of our business gaining or holding share. Our performance was strongest in our largest categories: biscuits and chocolate. This marks dramatic improvement in market share performance from where we were prior to 2018, but only half of our portfolio was gaining share. We were also able to grow operating income faster than revenue and operating income also grew faster than in 2019. This was driven by our strong volume growth and continued cost discipline, which allowed to offset most of the incremental COVID-19 related costs we experienced for the year.

These strong operating gains drove robust adjust the EPS growth at over 6% at constant currency for the year. We delivered on our commitment to generate strong free cash flow, allowing us to return $3.1 billion in capital to shareholders in 2020. Importantly, our actions not only supported our 2020 results, but also strengthened our position to sustain growth going forward.

We are now driving a virtuous cycle where strong execution allows us to reinvest to sustain growth, with significant opportunity to accelerate long term profitable growth. First, we are continuing to strengthen and grow our core portfolio. Second, we are expanding our presence in high growth channels like e commerce and discounters, where we are underrepresented. Third, we are driving penetration in newer and incremental segments like well-being, premium and low price. Fourth, we are continuing to expand in close in adjacencies through both brand expansion and strategic acquisitions. And finally, across the business, we continue to prioritize progress towards our ESG commitments.

On this final point, Snacking Made Right is the lens through which we view our ESG initiatives and well-being agenda. This agenda was more important than ever in 2020. Our differentiated approach to ESG enables us to deliver lasting, transformational change at scale by prioritizing where we can have the greatest impact by focusing on innovative and lasting solutions that are measurable and by collaborating to drive sector transformation.

We are building a sustainable snacking company that is focused on sustainably-sourced ingredients, minimizing climate and landscape impact, building a diverse, inclusive and engaged workforce and selling products that meet the evolving needs of consumers. We made significant progress and achieved all and exceeded many of our 2020 goals, including continuing to drive positive change across the cocoa industry by increasing our sustainable cocoa sourcing. 68% of the cocoa volume needed for our chocolate brands is now sourced through our signature sustainability program, Cocoa Life.

We also launched the joint venture with Olam to create the largest sustainable cocoa farm that will be used as a model for future farming. We achieved a 33% reduction in water usage since 2013, exceeding our target of 10%. And we established the sustainable futures platform aimed at amplifying long term positive impact for people and the planet through innovative social investment and partnerships.

Finally, when it comes to packaging, we not only maintained our strong progress against our ambitious goals, but accelerated them. We've achieved 94% recyclable packaging against our 2025 goal to reach 100%. And we've built on this by committing to reduce virgin plastic use in our rigid plastic packaging by at least 25% in the same time frame.

In the important area of diversity, equity and inclusion, we introduced a new global framework last year for how we will champion DENI for our colleagues, culture and communities. These include extensive new commitments, including spending $1 billion with women and minority-owned businesses annually, and doubling the U.S. percentage of black management representation by 2024.

Our Snacking Made Right report was published last week. And we'll be hosting our second Annual Global Investors Sustainability Call next week, where we will discuss our differentiated approach and the importance of sustainability and well-being to us as a company.

With that, I now call the 2021 Annual Meeting of Shareholders to order. Let me introduce Ellen Smith, our Senior Vice President and Chief Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and Corporate Secretary. She will outline some ground rules for today's meeting and establish a quorum.

Ellen Smith

Thank you, Dirk. Hello, everyone. I'm Ellen Smith, Mondelez International's Corporate Secretary and it is an honor to present the formal portion of our meeting today. You may view today's agenda and meeting procedures posted on the welcome page of the annual meeting website. To conduct an orderly meeting, we will follow the agenda and the procedures. Also, because this is a shareholders meeting, only shareholders or a single authorized representative of the shareholder may submit questions or comments.

We will be answering questions from shareholders at two points during the meeting today. First, questions pertaining to the for items up for a vote will be taken before we close the polls; and then at the end of the meeting, we will take general questions. Shareholders with questions are invited to submit them through the web portal and we will address as many as time permits. To ensure we have the broadest possible dialogue, we will take no more than three questions per shareholder and we will answer questions on the same topic only once. Responses to the questions that we are unable to cover during the meeting will be posted on our Investor Relations' website within 72 hours. You can find a link at www.mondelezinternational.com in the Investor section under News and Events.

During the meeting, and throughout this presentation, we are making forward-looking statements about expectations and prospects for Mondelez International's business strategies and performance. These statements are based on our view of the business and the operating environment today. Please note that actual results may differ materially due to a number of risks and uncertainties. Please, refer to the risk factors section of our most recent annual report on form 10-K filed with the SEC and available on our website for more information about the inherent limitations of our forward-looking statements.

During today's prepared remarks, we are referencing our non-GAAP financial measures. You can find the gap to non-GAAP reconciliations in our earnings releases on the website under the Events and Webcast tab of the Investor section. Finally, we are recording today's proceedings. A replay of the meeting will be available on our website for approximately one year from today's date.

And now, onto business. The Board set March 12, 2021 as the record date for determining shareholders entitled to vote at this meeting. We began distributing materials to shareholders on April 7, 2021. I have an affidavit from Broadridge certifying the completion of the distribution and I will include that into the meeting minutes. Our 2021 notice of annual meeting and proxy statement describe the purpose of today's annual meeting. They can be found at www.mondelezinternational.com in the Investor Relations section under News and Events.

Please also refer to the agenda and meeting procedures posted on the virtual meeting site for additional information on how we will conduct today's meeting. The votes on matters described in our proxy will be independently tabulated by Broadridge. The independent inspector of election at today's meeting is Hagberg Associates LLC and it has subscribed to its oath. Hagberg has determined that common stock representing more than 85% of the Company's outstanding shares is represented here today. Therefore, a quorum is present and the annual meeting may proceed.

Dirk, back to you.

Dirk Van De Put

Thanks, Ellen. I now would like to introduce our Board of Directors and the Management Team. Starting with the nominees for our Board of Directors: Lewis Booth, Charles Bunch, Lois Juliber, Peter May, Jorge Mesquita, Fred Reynolds, Kristiana Shi [ph], Patrick Siewert, Michael Todman and Jean-François van Boxme.

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce Jane Hamilton Nielsen as Director of Nominee. Mrs. Nielsen has a broad leadership experience at Ralph Lauren and as a former director of Pinnacle Foods. We believe she will be a strong addition to our board. I would also like to thank Debra Crew for her service to our board. We also have members from the Management Team on the line today. So, let me introduce them; Paulette Alviti, Maurizio Brusadelli, Vince Gruber, Rob Hargrove, Sandra MacQuillan, Minsok Pak, Martin Renaud, Laura Stein, Gustavo Valle, and Glen Walter, and Lucas Zaramella. To everyone I have just introduced, as well as our colleagues across Mondelez International, thank you for all your commitment to our company.

So, now let's address the official business of the annual meeting. We'll present each of the four items of business to be voted on in the order they appear on the agenda. As mentioned earlier, after that, we will answer questions that have been submitted that relate to these four items of business. The first item of business is the election of 12 Directors.

Ellen?

Ellen Smith

Thank you, Dirk. On behalf of the Mondelez International Board of Directors, I hereby nominate the 12 nominees set forth in the proxy statement.

Dirk Van De Put

I declare the nominations closed. We now turn to Item 2.

Ellen Smith

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I hereby move the following resolution: resolved, that the shareholders approve on an advisory basis the compensation paid to the named executive officers as described in the proxy statement.

Dirk Van De Put

Item 3.

Ellen Smith

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I move the following resolution: resolved, that the shareholders ratify the selection of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as the company's independent registered public accountants for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2021.

Dirk Van De Put

And Item 4.

Ellen Smith

Item 4 is a shareholder proposal submitted by the AFL-CIO reserve funds to 'consider employee pay in setting Chief Executive Officer pay'. We will now connect with Mr. Brandon Rees, Deputy Director, Corporation and Capital Markets for the AFL-CIO to present the proposal. Out of respect for the other shareholders in attendance and to allow ample time for Q&A, we ask you, Mr. Rees, to please limit your comments to a period of three minutes.

Mr. Reese, you are now on the line.

Brandon Rees

Good morning. I hereby move the AFL-CIO shareholder proposal. Our shareholder proposal simply requests that the Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors take into consideration the pay of all company employees when setting target amounts for CEO compensation. According to the proxy statement, Mondelez uses a compensation survey peer group to target CEO pay at or near the median. Paying your CEO according to a peer group can lead to a Lake Wobegon effect where all CEOs are above-average. Even if you target CEO pay slightly below the peer group average, other companies may cherry-pick their peers to select larger and more successful companies with higher CEO pay. As a result, CEO pay is guaranteed to rise for all peer group companies.

This feedback loop promotes a growing inequality between the CEO's pay and everybody else. Last year, Mondelez's reported median employee received less than $31,000 in annual pay. Between 2018 and 2020, our companies reported median employees pay increased just $300. That's equal to $100 per year, far below the increase in the cost of living. How much is $100 annual pay increase? Not even enough to buy a pack of Oreos for your family each week at the grocery store.

In comparison, last year, our company's CEO received $16.8 million in total compensation. That's $1.9 million more compensation than in 2018, his first full year as the CEO of Mondelez. That's a lot of Oreos. Mondelez's CEO compensation increased 12% between 2018 and 2020, while median employee pay increased less than 1%. This imbalance has increased Mondelez's CEO to worker pay ratio from 489 times to 1 in 2018 to 544 to 1 in 2020.

Meanwhile, Mondelez employees have been making sacrifices for the company. They have kept the production lines running during COVID-19 and recently, Mondelez has announced that it will close another two of its U.S. manufacturing facilities. The Nabisco plant and Fair Lawn, New Jersey has been in operation for over 60 years and employs about 600 people. The Nabisco plant in Atlanta, Georgia has been in operation for over 80 years and employs another 400 workers. I am troubled by the fact that our company believes that it is a good investment to pay its CEO 544 times its medians employees pay but that Mondelez isn't willing to invest in these two facilities to keep them open.

Our shareholder proposal asked the Board to consider whether the CEO's compensation is in alignment with the rest of the workforces' compensation. Like all companies, Mondelez depends on the contributions of its entire workforce to succeed. All we ask is that you take a moment to consider the impact of CEO pay on employee morale. Thank you.

Dirk Van De Put

Thank you, Mr. Rees. At this point, I would like to ask Lois Juliber, our Board Member and Chair of our Board, Human Resources and Compensation Committee to share our response to the core issue addressed in your proposal.

Lois?

Lois Juliber

Thank you, Dirk, and thank you, Mr. Rees for your ongoing involvement in our company. My role today is to respond specifically to the proposal that you have presented to our shareholders. First of all, we have a very thoughtful and robust practice for evaluating and reviewing executive compensation that emphasizes a strong pay-for-performance philosophy and creates incentives to align to our shareholders' interests. We are mindful of the pay grades of our employees were making CEO compensation decisions, which is why the approach we use to set CEO and executive pay is the same approach used to determine compensation for our broader employee population.

We also have consistent compensation and benefit programs across the globe where possible, with executives generally participating in the same annual management incentive plan, as many of our managers and our associates. Second, we continually engage with our shareholders and their views inform our compensation approach. Following last year's annual meeting, we spoke with over 25 different shareholders representing 30% of our outstanding shares. Quite frankly, we spoke to any shareholder who wanted to speak with us and four of our directors also engaged in these dialogues.

During our engagement, shareholders continued to be supportive of the changes we've previously implemented in our 2020 Compensation Program, which include a more rigorous approach to targeting our pay, limited use or reduced use of duplicative measures in our incentive plans and inclusion of more quantitative measurable metrics in individual performance factors that support our strategy, including metrics around diversity, sustainability, talent, and employee engagement.

Finally, we regularly assess how our compensation compares with other similarly-sized multinational companies and we make adjustments as necessary to remain attractive and competitive as an employer. Based on all of these factors and given the breadth of the information already taken into consideration by the Compensation Committee, we believe that mandating certain information to be used by the Compensation Committee in the performance of its duties is redundant and unnecessary.

Mr. Rees, we thank you for your interest, but we recommend that our shareholders vote against the proposal that you have presented. Thank you, Dirk.

Dirk Van De Put

Thank you, Lois. All matters to be voted on now have been formally presented. We will answer questions submitted that relate to these four items and as a reminder, we will answer questions submitted, but that do not relate to these four items during the general Q&A question, which we will have after the meeting. We are also pleased that Laura Tom [ph] from PricewaterhouseCoopers is attending the meeting and is available to respond to appropriate questions.

With that, I'll turn the microphone over to Russ Dyer, Vice President and Chief Global Communications and Government Affairs to read the first question. Russ?

Question-and-Answer Session

A - Russell Dyer

Thank you, Dirk. We have one question related to the four items and it relates to Item 4, the shareholder proposal. And the question reads, 'Mr. Chairman, the Carpenter's Funds holds a total of 1,041,200 shares of the company's stock. We believe that the company's executive compensation plan should drive the successful execution of the Board's long term strategic business plan. Today's public company executive compensation plans are largely formulaic peer-related plans with simplistic annual sound pay voting, reinforcing plan homogeny. Would you, or the Chair of the Compensation Committee speak to whether Mondelez might be served by an executive compensation plan tailored specifically to the Company's particular circumstances and its unique long term strategic business plan?'

Dirk Van De Put

Thank you, Russ. Since this is about mine and executive compensation, I think it's probably more appropriate that the head of our Compensation Committee answers the question. If you're okay with that, Lois? I'm not sure if Lois is still on the line.

Ellen Smith

Operator, could you lift the line for Lois Juliber?

Lois Juliber

Thank you, Dirk. I'm happy to respond. And to the Carpenters Union, thank you for your support of our company. In all candor, I can tell you that our executive compensation plan is anything but formulaic. It is very unique to the strategy that was put in place in Mondelez in 2018. On an annual basis, we measure six different metrics. The average in our peer group is three to four and on our long term plan, in addition to revenue and EPS growth, we look at how we are doing relative to our performance peer group, other consumer products companies, both U.S. and overseas-based. As you as you have looked at the company's performance over the last three years, I think you have seen a very consistent acceleration of our progress in growth and profitability due to the new strategy that was put in place and a unique-to-Mondelez compensation plan both, on an annual on a long term basis that has helped to drive the results. Last year, we also put in place in addition to the financial and growth metrics, a series of key performance indicators, totally unique to Mondelez that in addition to covering diversity, and sustainability, deal with overall market share growth in the large snacking category, as well as productivity and performance. So to cut to the chase, our plan is unique to the company. It is unique to the strategy and is helping to support tremendous growth of our businesses around the world. Thank you.

Dirk Van De Put

Thank you, Lois. Russ, I'm not sure is there any other questions related to the four items?

Russell Dyer

No other questions related to the four items.

Dirk Van De Put

Okay, thank you. So, with that, the polls are now closed. At this time, the Corporate Secretary will present the preliminary report of the inspector of election. Ellen?

Ellen Smith

Thank you, Dirk. Based on the preliminary reports of the inspector of elections, it appears that as to the first item of business, all 12 nominees to the Board of Directors received more four votes than against votes. Therefore, each has been elected to a term expiring at the 2022 annual meeting of shareholders. For Intel, his or her successor has been duly elected or appointed. As to the second item, a majority of shares voted were cast for the approval of the compensation paid to the named executive officers as disclosed in our proxy statement. Therefore, the shareholders have approved on an advisory basis that compensation. As to the third item, a majority of shares voted were cast for ratification of the selection of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as independent registered public accountants for 2021. Therefore, the shareholders have ratified that selection as well. And finally, as to the fourth item, a majority of shares voted were cast against the shareholder proposal and consider on considering employee pay and setting Chief Executive Officer pay. Therefore, the shareholders did not approve the proposal, and the proposal does not pass.

Please note that these results are preliminary. We will report final results, including the votes from the meeting today, and a current report on SEC Form 8-K on or before May 25, 2021. We will also post the results on our website. Thank you.

Dirk Van De Put

Thank you, Alan. And with that we've concluded our official business. Today's annual meeting is adjourned. Now, we will take your questions and comments of a more general nature. As noted earlier, in the interest of fairness, we will respond to no more than three questions from any single shareholder. Answers to questions not addressed will be posted on the investor relations section of our website within 72 hours after the end of the meeting. And we will group substantially similar questions by topic and instant answer them only once.

With that I will turn the microphone back to Russ to read the first question.

Russell Dyer

Thanks, Dirk. The first question has to do with commitment to nutritional and well-being and it reads the COVID 19 pandemic has emphasized the need to tackle obesity, which has emerged as a key risk factor in hospitalization and deaths from the virus. Regulators need to tackle obesity. Regulators across the globe are now fast tracking measures to reduce obesity. For example, the UK plans to restrict the advertising promotion and placement of less healthy products. At the same time, demand for healthier products is increasing. To remain competitive and reduce financial risks, companies must shift their sales and portfolio towards healthier products. In this context, it's encouraging to see Mondelez acknowledged the need to improve the healthiness of its products. However, research from the access to nutrition initiatives found that only 5% of products in your portfolio can be considered healthy? Will you commit to increasing the proportion of healthier products in your portfolio?

Dirk Van De Put

Thank you. Yes, obviously, we will commit to increase the healthier proportion of products in our portfolio. But I do want to point out that we believe that our current portfolio is very relevant to contemporary snacking, and every of trying to constantly evolve that portfolio to meet consumer needs. And today, consumers, they have a very holistic view of well-being. And they consume multiple types of snacks, to meet a variety of functional but also emotional needs. And particularly during pandemic, I would say, the need to snack to feel better. And to temper some of the anxiety was quite important. If we look at the evolution of snacking in general, because I believe that in the end, it's very important what the consumers prefer to do. And so, I would say that our core categories will grow more in dollar terms as it relates to the more indulgent items.

The well-being categories are indeed growing faster, but they are much smaller in percentage times. So over time, we do plan to increase the well-being part of our portfolio, we will have to do that in line with what the consumer prefers. As I was saying, we have studied quite closely, the consumer preferences as it relates to well-being and how they think about it. And in fact, they think about it in a number of different ways, maybe not just a purely nutritional way that you might be referring to. And so we're doing a number of things to adapt to those consumer needs. Like we do a lot of reformulations and renovations, we constantly reduced sodium fat and saturated fat across our portfolio. We enhance our nutritional credentials, like for instance, with powdered beverages in Latin America and AMEA. We worked a lot on the provenance and the sourcing of our ingredients. So for instance, with [indiscernible] all sorts with local French ingredients in France, we do a number of new product launches, for instance, Cadbury Dairy Milk with 30%, less sugar, or recently Oreo gluten free.

We've created a company called snack futures that is focused on launching new innovations that particularly focused on health and wellness as well as sustainability. We're doing a number of acquisitions like Gourmet [ph] Food, or You [ph] or Perfect Snacks are all in the health and wellness area. And maybe one of the more important things also is that we are very focused on communicating and educating the consumer on snacking the right way when we call mindful snacking. And we're planning to put mindful snacking guidelines on all facts globally by 2025. So a long answer may be but hopefully that gives you an idea of what we're doing as it relates to well-being. Russ, maybe the next question?

Russell Dyer

The next question is related to some of what you touched upon in your intro remarks and the company's approach to ESG. The question reads, Mr. Chairman, the topic of stakeholder capitalism, as an alternative to shareholder capitalism, has received considerable attention recently, as long term pension fund investors, the carpenter's fund appreciate the sentiments embodied in the stakeholder capitalism perspective, but feel the execution could be complicated. Could you discuss the board's perspective on the concept of stakeholder capitalism? And what principles the board would use to balance the interests of various stakeholders as it develops and implements the company's long term business strategy?

Dirk Van De Put

Okay, good question. And I will try to do my best but I have the rest of management on the line also. So if they want to, maybe also give a perspective of somebody else that would be fine. So I would say stakeholder capitalism. We really care about the views of the different stakeholders and we take into account what they think as we determine our growth strategy, how we manage our operations, what is the type of company what type of culture do we want to have and also in our overall ESG approach, of course. We captured that in the overall idea that we want to build a sustainable snacking company. And our purpose snacking made, right is referring to that. It refers to most of the interests of the stakeholders. We, of course, focus on doing what's best for the company and for its constituents. And of course, there is a variety of perspective, so there is no single formula that we can use to kind of evaluate what is before us and we need to take the decisions as things are appearing in front of us.

We, of course, have longer term indications of what we would like to do. I won't go into the detail of that. But if you're interested, I would certainly recommend that you listen to our investors call in about a week, about our snacking made right approach, which is in fact about our ESG approach. And so we try to have this framework of snacking made right, and then anything we do, we evaluate against that framework. That's really how we are trying to manage this in the company. I think it's the right approach, we also try to make sure that we focus because there are a lot of subjects that stakeholders are interested in. And so we try as a company to really look at where we can have the biggest impact and where we can really make a difference and spend our, our energy there. But I would say, the processes and understanding what our stakeholders think having a clear framework of what we want to focus on and what we want to achieve as a company, and then make sure that we monitor carefully the progress we make against those different priorities. That's the way we think about it. Maybe in the interest of time, Russ, we should move on to the next question.

Russell Dyer

The next question is about commodity costs. And it says what kind of impact is the rapidly rising commodity cost having on Mondelez? Have you been able to pass on those costs to the consumer?

Dirk Van De Put

And maybe it's time to put the management a little bit to work. And maybe I can ask Luca to talk a little bit about commodities rising cost, and then I can comment a little bit on how he can do that too, on how we are thinking about pricing and things like that.

Luca Zaramella

Thank you for the question. And thank you Dirk. And as many others we are obviously experiencing higher inflation than usual, particularly around certain areas of cost, namely, edible oils, logistics costs, packaging costs. But at this point of the year, we have already proactively hedged most of these exposures. And we believe the exposure for this year is manageable. And going forward, as we have always done, we will be fairly disciplined in pricing away those commodities impact because we believe that in the end, being able to invest in our brand sending our people is a sustainable model. And we will have cycles for those costs by going after additional productivities and cost savings initiatives. And by optimizing pricing around the world, we will not necessarily increase prices, but we will optimize promotions, we will use all the levers of what we call revenue growth management. So we have confidence in being able to manage also on for the rising inflation.

Dirk Van De Put

Thank you, Luca. Russ, next question?

Russell Dyer

The next question is related to the JDE IPO and it says any insight into what's going on with the IPO?

Dirk Van De Put

Go ahead Luca.

Luca Zaramella

We decided together with other major shareholders of JDE to take the company public. I believe it was at the end of May 2020. The initial public offering stock price was I believe €31.50, today the company is trading at €32.50 or so; so it was a successful IPO highly subscribing from some of the initial public offering. We believe that was the right move for us to be able to obtain access to a potential liquidation of the company. Having said that, we believe the company has great prospects. And we are fairly pleased with the fact that the company went public and the prospects of the business.

Dirk Van De Put

Alright, thank you, Luca. Russ?

Russell Dyer

We have about five more questions. The next one is asking what was done with the funds from the partial sale of our stake in KDP?

Dirk Van De Put

Luca that putting you to work here today. Maybe you want to talk about capital allocation or I can do it if you prefer, but I know that that's your subject.

Luca Zaramella

The question is what was done with the partial sale of our stake in KDP. The funds are usually fungible, when we think about money and where we are located. But the simple way to think about what we have done about KDP is to look at the acquisitions that we have made in the last couple of years. And so, when you take what we have been liquidating for KDP net of taxes, those funds pretty much are equivalent to the price that we paid for a given goal and the few acquisitions which happens to be lacking assets, high growth and the business is performing by quite well both in regards to given going and do so the simple way to think about what we have done is redeploy those funds into the M&A that we did last year.

Dirk Van De Put

All right, thank you. Russ?

Russell Dyer

Next question is about how Cadbury has been performing?

Dirk Van De Put

Cadbury has been performing extremely well. Just recently grocery in the UK listed for 2020 the biggest brands in the UK and Cadbury is the biggest consumer brand in the UK as an example. Not only is the biggest brand it also in pounds terms was the brand that grew the most 8% last year. So, we are very pleased, on top Cadbury has been increasing its market share quite significantly in the UK market. So Cadbury has performed very well. The other big country for Cadbury is India where it is I mean you don't ask for a chocolate you ask for a chocolate for Cadbury sorry, large percentage of market share, very vibrant brand, the most respected brand and the most loved brands in the country of anything else. So I would say Cadbury has been a pride for us, our teams have done an incredible job. The growth has been very strong. It's growing at double digit. So I would say let's hope we can continue it but it's really an example of our company at its best in the way we have managed Cadbury. Russ?

Russell Dyer

The next question is about employee vaccination. And will management commit to limiting themselves to encouraging our employees to get the COVID vaccine?

Dirk Van De Put

Yes, I can react and maybe then Paulette wants to chime in a little bit. But my conviction is that the really the only way out of this pandemic is vaccination. And so we as management feel that we need to help our people to get access to vaccination, and to help them to make that decision to be vaccinated. Because if we can do so we can potentially create a very safe environment in our offices and in our plants and that's really important for us, we also want to protect them for their families for their communities. So I believe we have a big role to play. When I got vaccinated, we posted my picture I asked everybody to take it really into consideration.

And maybe Paulette, you can talk a little bit about all the actions we're taking around the world to help our employees to get vaccinated.

Paulette Alviti

Yes, happy to, Dirk. This is obviously a big area of emphasis for us around the company and in all of our markets where we're operating around the globe. And I would say over the past few months, we've been advocating for priority access to vaccines, obviously for all of our top line workers but teams are doing everything in their power and where we have the ability to make accommodations, we are doing that. We're committed to covering the cost of the vaccines for all of our colleagues if it's not already paid for by the governments or the health care plans in their local geographies. And we're also providing as much flexibility as we can to allow time off for our colleagues to get the vaccine. And where we can, we are 100% committed to try to bring the vaccine clinics into our facilities, so that our plants and our distribution centers, we can make it as easy as possible for them.

And where we can, we also are including their dependents and their families, because we recognize the total well-being of our workforce also is the well-being of the families that are our employees. So 100% committed to continue to do what we can here to protect our people as this continues to evolve around the globe.

Dirk Van De Put

Thank you, Paulette. Russ?

Russell Dyer

Dirk, our last question is, would the company consider virtual access to future in person shareholder meetings for those who cannot attend?

Dirk Van De Put

Yes. Our idea is that from now on, we will have what you call hybrid meetings, where you can have virtual access as well as access in person and I really do believe that next year; we can have a live meeting. My fingers are crossed. But yes, I think in today's world, that's the right thing to do and we fully planning to do so.

Russell Dyer

No further questions.

Dirk Van De Put

Okay. So I think with that we are concluding our question-and-answer session of course. And with that, we're concluding the whole session. So, thank you for joining today and for your continued support and interest in Mondelez International. See you next year.

Russell Dyer

This now concludes the meeting. Thank you for joining and have a pleasant day.

Operator

The host has ended this call.

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