The CEO of Mars, Grant Reid, has described how the business is changing to meet the needs of Gen Z, in an interview with Business Insider. Reid explains how the American manufacturer behind chocolate brands such as Snickers and M&M’s, and pet food such as Pedigree and Whiskers, is hoping to cater to the needs of Gen Z as consumers and employees. Showing understanding of changing preferences, Reid highlights the growing demand for transparency, confidence in the sustainability of products and immersive experiences with the next generation. This, according to the CEO of the $35 billion company, is “an opportunity to keep innovating within core products but also add other products”. But it is not all change. Reid points out Mars’ long history of sustainable thinking. In 1947, Forrest Mars Sr, one of the owners of the family business, wrote a letter stating that the company’s role was much greater than purely making a profit.
Reid’s interview deserves credit. A powerful CEO talking openly about Gen Z expectations of a sustainable business is not common practice. But in doing so, Reid demonstrates the importance of understanding these expectations for his business. Awareness of what Gen Z are looking for from their employers and the companies they buy from is key to building a successful strategy. Mars’ Sustainable in a Generation Plan is a leading strategy across environment, health and equality. The moniker alone points to the ambition of meeting expectations quickly, in order to provide a sustainable society for those growing up today.