Frito-Lay Scores a Touchdown for Super Bowl Snacking     

By John Karolefski

Nine of ten Americans say watching the Super Bowl is not complete without snacks and dips. That tasty sentiment is a touchdown for Frito-Lay North America, an official sponsor of the annual event.

The $16 billion convenient foods division of PepsiCo produces about 600 million pounds of snacks in the six weeks leading up to the game – and more than 67 million pounds of snacks during the week beforehand. Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest day of the year for salty snacks, generating approximately $520 million in one day.

“The Super Bowl is ingrained in American culture and a top week for the business of snacks,” Mike Del Pozzo, senior vice president of sales and chief customer officer, Frito-Lay North America, said in a press release.

Sports fans have their favorite type of snacks. Potato chips and tortilla chips are the most sought-after munchies with 70 percent of Super Bowl watchers expecting potato chips to be available at a Super Bowl event, followed by tortilla chips with 54 percent.

“But we want to be the centerpiece and leverage the whole portfolio [of snacks] for this game. We want to be relevant in consumer’s households.,” Del Pozzo told CPGmatters in an exclusive interview at the recent FMI Midwinter Executive Conference in Scottsdale, Ariz.
He said accomplishing that goal requires a cross-functional effort involving sales, marketing and supply chain teams to ensure that consumers have the best Super Bowl experience. “We’re rallying our whole organization. We’re making it a company-wide celebration,” he said.
Supply chain has become especially important for Super Bowl week, according to Del Pozzo. “We’re going to add 15,000 deliveries just this week,” he told CPGmatters a week before the big game. “Our DSD system is a super competitive advantage this time of year. In all the snacking occasions that occur the day of the game, 20 percent of the purchases occur six hours before kick-off. If we didn’t have reps in the stores, we’d be wiped out.”

To prevent out of stocks, Frito-Lay relies on data to know when and where deliveries are needed.   “We have a connected front line,” he said. “Every one of our frontline reps is armed with an IOS device – iPad or iPhone. Some markets may be fine, and others need flexibility from somewhere else. We think it’s a huge competitive advantage for us.”

Frito-Lay has always had big displays in stores to promote the Super Bowl. But moving up to the next level called for bringing the occasion alive online.

“That could be with retail partners through our collective media networks,” Del Pozzo said, “or it could be on our own via a website or digital targeting asking our partners what’s important for them for the Super Bowl, what products do they want based on previous purchase behavior. I talk about omnichannel in terms of accessibility and relevance. We want to be at arms’ reach of every shopper or consumer.”

Frito-Lay has increased its marketing investment this year to support its innovations such as Cheetos Popcorn and Cool Ranch Doritos. The snack giant launched its first-ever portfolio Super Bowl advertising campaign starring NFL legends Deion Sanders, Michael Irvin, Tony Gonzalez and Terry Bradshaw to get consumers “Ready for Crunchtime.” The campaign – featuring top brands Lay’s, Doritos and Tostitos – included in-store, out-of-home, digital and radio advertising, as well as two 30-second TV spots.

Frito-Lay’s U.S. Snack Index, based on a national poll, enables the marketer to keep on top of Super Bowl snacking habits. Here are some key insights:
  • Super Bowl party goers prefer snacks. Nine in 10 say a Super Bowl spread isn't complete without snacks and dips; nearly eight in 10 prefer snacks like chips and pretzels to be available.

  • For the second year in a row, salsa was the favorite dip. The top five favorite dips to pair with Super Bowl snacks include: salsa (16 percent), cheese dips and spreads (13 percent), French onion dip (13 percent), guacamole (12 percent), and buffalo chicken dip (12 percent).

  • Spicy and out-of-the-box flavors are hot with younger consumers. While all generations are most likely to prefer the classic flavors (53 percent), Gen Z and Millennials favor flavors like hot and spicy or more elevated/amplified flavors. Consumers felt the same way in 2019 and echo Frito-Lay's prediction as spicy being one of the top snack trends of the year.

  • Snacking preferences across the American melting pot vary.
* The two Super Bowl LIV cities prefer different snacks, with San Francisco choosing potato chips (48 percent)
  and Kansas City favoring popcorn (32 percent).
* Miami residents who plan to watch Super Bowl LIV are most likely to snack in the second quarter (27 percent)
  while those in Kansas City (39 percent) and San Francisco (42 percent) are more likely to snack in the first

“Our U.S. Snack Index is just one of the ways we keep a pulse on how consumers are snacking for Super Bowl, and we’re always excited to see the evolving trends around the biggest salty snacks day of the year,” said Del Pozzo.

                                                                     Early February 2020
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