How Funyuns fit with Frito-Lay’s cost-conscious plan

The U.S. cult favourite is part of a new line of value snacks the company hopes will answer an increasingly important consumer need.

Fritos-funyonsFrito-Lay Canada is reaching out to value-minded consumers by bringing a new collection of snacks to market, including the Canadian launch of Funyuns.

The new chip snack collection includes permanent offerings Canadians are already familiar with, like Hickory Sticks Salt & Vinegar, Fritos Hoops Jalapeños and Chester’s Flamin’ Hot Twists, but it also includes Funyuns, the onion-flavored rings that are a cult favourite south of the border.

Hickory Sticks originated from the east coast, but now the Salt & Vinegar flavour profile is available across the country, and Fritos Hoops Jalapeños and Chester’s Flamin’ Hot Twists are exclusive to Canada, says Lisa Allie, director, shopper convenience brands and sports at PepsiCo.

Allie tells strategy that the brand has been keeping a close eye on how COVID-19 is influencing consumer behaviour and continues to adjust its marketing and production strategies across the snack category as needed in order to meet consumers’ evolving needs.

Early on in the pandemic, this included adjusting its production process to ensure it could keep its top SKUs in stock. Now, that kind of responsiveness is being applied to other areas, which Allie describes as a demand for unique flavour experiences and the added importance of value.

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While the rapid response is a more recent need, PepsiCo Foods Canada has been focused on winning with the value consumer for many years, Allie notes.

“We know that value continues to grow in importance for our consumers,” Allie says. With the new line-up, Frito-Lay can leverage its scale and strength in the category to accelerate its growth with that consumer segment.

The new portfolio launch presented an opportunity to refresh packaging. Classics like Munchos and Chester’s (pictured, above) are also getting a makeover, including a much larger value call-out. Allie says the brand is putting investment behind in-store point of sales tools to drive awareness, along with various sampling initiatives from influencer activations to tech-enabled sampling. There are no current shopper marketing elements live in-store yet, but will be coming to mass grocers in early June.

MarkIV handled in-store, SLD handled the packaging design and Schawk the packaging execution. Citizen is leading a PR push.

The packaging change also comes on the heels of the Lays’ potato chip brand’s new look packaging, its first such reboot in 13 years, in which parent PepsiCo positioned the crisps around flavour and home grown ingredients, as well as being more joyful and positive.