CPGmatters: Frito-Lay’s Plan – Attract Female Shoppers With New Products in Redesigned Snack Aisle

Apr 09, 2009

By Dale Buss

Through a special arrangement,
presented here for discussion is an excerpt of a current article from the
monthly e-zine, CPGmatters.

New shopper insights have told Frito-Lay
that women really want their own desires for nutritionally-oriented products
to be addressed in the supermarket salty-snack aisle, but typically don’t
find that to be the case. So the new program involves Flat Earth baked
vegetable crisps, a young brand, as well as a complete overhaul of the
SmartFood popcorn-based snack brand, its 100-calorie packs of many products,
and new flavors of baked versions of venerable Lay’s, Fritos, Ruffles,
Doritos, Cheetos and Tostitos snacks.

“Women are heavy snackers,” Julie
Saliba, director of marketing for Frito-Lay’s women’s portfolio, told CPGmatters. “In
our aisle, she didn’t see offerings she was looking for. It’s not that
she wasn’t looking for them.”

Frito-Lay is rolling out its new aisle scheme
nationally in all of its major outlets, including supermarkets, mass merchandisers,
drug and club stores, in cooperation with retailers, of course, and with
Frito-Lay’s own category management and planogram teams.

Right now, Ms. Saliba conceded, the products
and brands that women are interested in purchasing for themselves are scattered
throughout the salty-snacks aisle and largely undifferentiated from other

“We know consumers appreciate this type
of product, but they’re spread out all over the place and getting lost,” Ms.
Saliba said. “Even baked snacks basically just disappear into the
aisle because the packaging is similar to other products and because they
don’t necessarily cue things to women that are associated with the snacks.

“So we’re increasing the visibility
of these lines by getting rid of clutter and focusing on what she’s looking
for when she’s looking for baked.”

Specifically, in the store, Frito-Lay is
clustering its better-for-you brands together on the shelves for the first
time. In “traditional” stores, the cluster will tend to be located
in the center of the aisle, Ms. Saliba explained, while in more health-oriented
outlets, Frito-Lay will group better-for-you items close to one of the
aisle ends.

“People who are more focused on shopping
for a variety of snacks for their families are going be coming down the
aisle anyway, and our variety packs on the ends will draw her into the
aisle – and she’ll see that the middle of the aisle is ‘for me,'” as
Ms. Saliba put it. By contrast, women shopping more health-oriented outlets
will find Flat Earth, SmartFood, 100-calorie packs and all of the company’s
baked chips at the end of the aisle – though not on end caps – so
they can see them more clearly.

“The overarching key,” she added, “is
that we’re trying to make it easier for her to find what she’s looking

Discussion Questions: How would you rate
the women better-for-you snack food opportunity? What do you think of
Frito-Lay’s’ move to cluster its better-for-you brands together on the
shelves for the first time as part of a more focused approach toward

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

Join the Discussion!

12 Comments on "CPGmatters: Frito-Lay’s Plan – Attract Female Shoppers With New Products in Redesigned Snack Aisle"

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Dr. Stephen Needel
13 years 1 month ago

The article makes no mention of any research that was done to show that this is a good idea, so it’s hard to evaluate beyond “Gee, it sounds like a good idea.” Questions that go unanswered (in this article) are the size of this market, lost opportunity costs (when you reduce the number of facings of existing products to make room for these new products), and why, if packaging is confusing, don’t they change baked products packaging?

Steve Montgomery
13 years 1 month ago

I support Mr. Needle’s position that without research, it is difficult to evaluate. That being said, in our experience groupings of this nature have helped customers become more aware of the range of items being offered. The creation of a section (assuming it is large enough to be identified by the consumer as a section or set off by additional signage to do so, etc.) should increase sales if the underlying research is correct. Regarding the packaging–remember, this is the same company that just had to revert to its previous packaging for its Tropicana line.

Gene Detroyer
13 years 1 month ago

At least Frito-Lay is not calling this the “good for you” brand initiative. It is only the “better for you” brand initiative. I guess there is no real way to get to “good for you.” How ironic that the 100-calorie packs are included in this group when the Journal of Consumer Research reported that people who purchase the 100-calorie packs actually are consuming multiple 100-calorie packs that add up to more calories than they would have if they were snacking from a regular package.

Strategically, the initiative makes sense. The snack aisle is very confusing and anything that can add order to it would be helpful. The execution, because of store door servicing will make it difficult, as competitors will have access to the sets.

Ben Ball
13 years 1 month ago
Without knowing a thing about this particular initiative except who is doing it, I can virtually assure our community that this has exhaustive research behind it. And that it is research designed to get underneath the veneer of “healthy” that blankets consumers knee jerk responses to survey questions. I haven’t worked as an employee of Frito for over 15 years. But I was in the Marketing group in the late 80s when the company listened to the public outcry over nutrition and almost threw the business off the cliff with an ill-aimed attempt at “not bad for you” advertising. The strategy was derisively termed the “less salt than a salt mine–less calories than a side of beef” strategy by an internal pundit who shall remain nameless. The Cheetos brand was in my portfolio at the time and we jumped on the bandwagon too. The “Hans Brinker Cheese Shop” campaign attempted to associate Cheetos with real cheese. The irony is, the commercials were 100% accurate, as were all those for other brands. You really did (at… Read more »
Cathy Hotka
13 years 1 month ago

Keep in mind that the female customer shopping for snacks is in a hurry. Those yards-long snack shelves can be hard to negotiate quickly, so combining like items has got to be a smart way to help shoppers find what they want and take it home.

Susan Rider
Susan Rider
13 years 1 month ago

I agree with Ben. And from a research of one, being a woman, I totally agree with the concept. Healthier items strategically positioned in the aisle where you are looking for those items would be a big plus. It seems most of my friends and I always bypass the special healthy section because it is equivalent to healthy prices.

Joan Treistman
13 years 1 month ago
Undoubtedly Frito-Lay has research behind their program. However, I question how well the research has directed their initiative. For example, Frito-Lay has a women’s strategy in place with Flat Earth as one example. Since its relatively recent introduction, the package has undergone several changes, suggesting Frito-Lay is still trying to fine tune the brand’s positioning and the effectiveness of the package in the store. Originally, it had its own display. Now, according to the article, there will be an entire aisle or section devoted to women’s better-for-you snacks. I’ve been a professional researcher long enough to know that sometimes clients hear what they want to hear and when they don’t, they blame the research. It’s human nature. It’s been shown when it comes to snacks, consumers are looking for taste, i.e. it tastes great. And when the product has a “better for you” position, it makes the consumer wonder about that taste promise. Remember Snackwells. Further, for the indulgence product and its instant gratification, consumers happily make certain nutritional sacrifices. And in this economy, a… Read more »
Carol Spieckerman
Carol Spieckerman
13 years 1 month ago

I think this is a great idea. As a woman who is a sporadic snacker (snacks are an option but one I can easily forgo) I often bypass the snack aisle after a first glace. Looking at those massive bags of chips gives me “permission” to move on because I can’t imagine my two-person household polishing one off in a reasonable amount of time. Then you’re playing back memories of throwing out bag after bag of stale chips. Forget about it! I didn’t even realize this was my mindset until reading the RetailWire piece. That tells me Frito-Lay is really onto something with the the likes of me!

Ralph Jacobson
13 years 1 month ago

This can tie in with other categories, like soda, etc. The challenge will be how to merchandise this, let alone the packaging. Should there be a women’s section in the aisle? If so, does that preclude women from buying the better-tasting, less healthy snacks? Will they feel forced into a specific type of product? We have to be careful here. Tostitos are the best thing in the world, and if a woman or a physical fitness fanatic, or I want to indulge periodically in a less-than-healthy snack, I certainly don’t want to go on a guilt trip the next time I shop the snack aisle.

Dennis Serbu
Dennis Serbu
13 years 1 month ago

“Better Choices” snacks as a destination category does makes sense. This would be a target area for shoppers who want reasonable alternatives for themselves and their children. Unfortunately with this particular manufacturer, the initiative will be short sighted as it will only include their brands. Note that the Salty Snack Category is one of the few in the Supermarket that is not merchandised by Type (Tortilla Chips with Tortilla Chips, Potato Chips with Potato Chips etc.) It is merchandised by vendor. Subcategory sets have been tried and are successful. This is good for the retailer, and actually follows a consumer decision tree. I would add that it dramatically enhances Private Label snacks as a “Choice.”

A destination set of “Better Choices” is a powerful concept if it includes other relevant brands and is an equally powerful profit generator.

M. Jericho Banks PhD
M. Jericho Banks PhD
13 years 1 month ago

Only Frito-Lay could make this happen in terms of variety of healthy offerings and speed-of-delivery. Even Walmart couldn’t match this type of marketing execution. This is so typical of FL; nimble, intuitive, responsive, and in control of their merchant space. All marketing companies can learn from them.

However, the FL assertion that “women are heavy snackers” raises this question: While women are the major snack purchasers, who’s doing the consuming once the snacks get home? Of course FL has conducted extensive in-home consumption research, but the recent significant increases in childhood obesity and childhood Type 2 Diabetes suggest who’s really hoovering any and all snacks (not just FL) on the homefront. Hopefully a significant share of these healthier new FL snacks will positively influence the “no-child-left-with-a-huge-behind” effort.

Michael L. Howatt
Michael L. Howatt
13 years 1 month ago

Funny how it seems the women on the Panel like the idea and the men don’t. Or at least the men want more details (cannibalization figures, research results, etc.). FL should be careful that they cross-categorized their expectations of the better-for-you products. Getting women thinking healthy by purchasing a low fat product may make them think twice about purchasing soft drinks and other fattening products they offer. Hope they considered these possibilities when running their simulated store test.


Take Our Instant Poll

Do you think better-for-you snacks should be separated from traditional snacks in supermarket aisles?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...