Head of impulse category Will Kerr
Profile PepsiCo’s portfolio includes 22 food and drink brands, such as Pepsi and Walkers.
Latest news A new campaign for Walkers, ‘Grab summer by the snacks’, features bespoke messages
on posters depending on the location, as well as in-store PoS.
Many suppliers have been launching new products that contain fewer calories. What is Walkers doing to tap into this?
Healthier snacking is definitely a trend at the moment and PepsiCo has spent quite a bit of time concentrating on the category, making sure our portfolio is simple for shoppers to understand.
For example, the Baked range, which is one of our top 20 products, contains 50% less fat than regular crisps. Sunbites is a high source of fibre, and Snack a Jacks focuses heavily on its low-calorie content.
For shoppers, there are two barriers when it comes to healthier snacking – taste and visibility. To combat this, we have a taste guarantee on Walkers, and recently conducted a three-month trial with a number of stores, helping them with their merchandising and core range.
On average, there was a 41% uplift in sales of better-for-you Walkers snacks with better visibility.
What other trends are emerging, and how is the category growing?
There is a 99% household penetration of savoury snacks, and in the impulse channel, it’s growing by 6.9% – ahead of the multiples.
In terms of trends, we’re finding more shoppers will buy sharing bags in the evening compared with other times of day, so make sure you stock up ahead of peak periods.
Also, if you have a store in a communal hotspot, like in the middle of town, make sure you have a strong singles range by the food-to-go chiller, and if you are in England and Wales and have strong evening footfall, site crisps by the beer, wine and spirits fixture as a secondary siting.
There is also an opportunity to make the most of premium crisps, such as Sensations Thai Sweet Chilli, by siting it near your wine range.
In which areas can retailers improve?
Retailers know their shoppers better than anyone else, so it’s never the case of them making a mistake, but looking at ways they can improve.
One of the biggest struggles is that there are a huge number of products on the market, so it’s about making them aware of the core lines that will deliver the most profit.
If retailers listed the top 38 products in the category, this would take care of 70% of their sales. Once they have this in place, it gives them room to look to other lines that are popular in their area.
What is your best ranging and merchandising advice, and can you provide an example of a store that is doing this well?
Nisa Weyhill Road store is a good example of merchandising done right. After the trial period, in which PepsiCo came and helped with the merchandising, there was a 17% uplift in overall sales.
The shop owner bought into the concept of stocking core lines, and made sure the top 20 Walkers products had good facings – alongside leaving room for other key brands in the fixture.
What investment can we expect behind the brand this year?
PepsiCo’s current campaign focuses on the relaunch of Walkers’ ‘best ever’ Cheese & Onion flavour, and the recent advert featuring the Spice Girls ties in with this.
‘Grab summer by the snacks’ is another campaign we’re focusing on. Again, this ties into summer occasions, focusing on picnics and barbecues. The campaign features bespoke posters with messages relevant to the location, such as by the beach, or the park.
We have data showing that market-leading crisp brands are losing sales to newer brands and flavours in the independent channel. How does PepsiCo plan to combat this?
There needs to be a balance between stocking core ranges and others, but it’s also about helping retailers understand the value behind stocking the top 20 Walkers products, as well as offering a range that creates excitement with new brands and flavours.
We are a competitive company at heart, so if there are other brands that are doing this better, then it’s a great challenge for us – we’re always looking for ways to improve.
More industry profiles: General Mills’ Clare Ryal discusses key snack bar trends