How PepsiCo's Small Snacking Brands Are Helping Its Overall Growth

PepsiCo wants to talk about Girl Dinner. The meme went viral for presenting plates filled with elaborate snacks like charcuterie boards (or, sometimes just a bag of frosted animal crackers and a Slim Jim, or an entire brick of cheese) and labeling it "girl dinner." It's comedic, but as the viral trend's popularity has demonstrated in spades, wickedly relatable. The modern consumer is evolving, and mealtime doesn't always look the way it used to. So PepsiCo wants to meet consumers where they are.

The fifth annual U.S. Snack Index concluded that the line between "snack" and "meal" is blurring, and will continue to blur as foodies move into 2024. But, while folks on the go (especially Millennial and Gen Z consumers) might not have enough time to prepare a four-hour marinade or even spatchcock a chicken, PepsiCo is likely looking for ways to make its snack-oriented offerings more well-rounded. Enter PepsiCo's "better choice snacking portfolio."

Fans might be more familiar with PepsiCo's dominant snack brand portfolio, which includes Lay's, Ruffles, Doritos, Cheetos, Fritos, Funyuns, Tostitos, and countless others. But the snacking giant is pushing the little guys to the front. The sector is spearheaded by Sun Chips, PopCorners, and Stacy's pita chips, plus less-popular (but quickly growing) brands like Off the Eaten Path vegetable crisps and Bare fruit and coconut snacks. Collectively, the portfolio currently generates about $1.5 billion in annual revenue — small potatoes compared to PepsiCo's dominant snacking brands like Doritos, Fritos, and Cheetos, but working to close the gap.

Feeding the snack-centric future

The diversified snack options represent the food giant's efforts to anticipate and meet a wide range of consumer snacking needs across the market. Some individual brands including PopCorners and SunChips enjoyed double-digit net revenue growth in fiscal Q3. Indeed, these brands are an indispensable platform for reaching the new-wave munchies' target audience. PepsiCo has upped the aggression on its marketing campaign for Off the Eaten Path and Bare snacks in retailers like national parks.

Subsidiaries have also highlighted the smaller brands via new flavors or marketing gimmicks. In May, a new SunChips flavor, Monterey Jack & Garden Tomato, debuted just in time for summer. PopCorners even got a Super Bowl ad earlier this year starring Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul in their "Breaking Bad" getup, sporting the tagline "Break Into Something Good." It might seem a little heavy-handed, but Forbes praised the ad as wildly "[e]ffective in generating short-term sales, and contributing to positive brand associations for the longer term." Consumers may look forward with anticipation to see what the company drums up next.