The Interview – PepsiCo ‘Less is more’ when it comes to maximising snacking sales

Matt Goddard, Wholesale Trading Director at PepsiCo spoke to Wholesale Manager.

Matt Goddard
Wholesale Trading Director, PepsiCo

Wholesale Manager – Why should wholesalers stock Walkers and what is your advice to help them drive category sales?

Our advice to wholesalers is always ‘less is more’ when it comes to maximising snacking sales. There are approximately 800 crisp lines available to wholesalers so it can be difficult to know where to start, but in an average depot it’s worth bearing in mind that the top 20 lines account for over 24% of value sales1. The bottom 200 contribute less than 0.5%1. Whilst we understand wholesalers want to provide retailers with choice, stocking too many lines can result in wastage and reduced profit.

Single serve packs make up over 60% of total crisps, savoury snacks and nuts sales in the wholesale channel2, with seven of the top 10 our PepsiCo brands3. Walkers Cheese & Onion is the top selling single serve product, followed by Ready Salted and Salt & Vinegar2. We’ve added ‘bestseller’ flashes onto these cases to help wholesalers and retailers easily identify the most popular flavours. These bestsellers are also available in a 48-case format, whilst all others are sold in 32-case to help reduce wastage. Your retail customers won’t have unlimited shelf space for this category, and will also need to be selective about what they stock. A strong core range indepot can help them make the right decisions, which will help them maximise sales as well.

WM – How should wholesalers make space for NPD and how important are new products for driving category sales?

New products are really important to help wholesalers drive additional sales. This is particularly the case if NPD launches are supported with TV advertising, as they will be top of mind with retailers.

Wholesalers can use secondary siting and work with suppliers on front-of-depot displays for maximum awareness. Last year we teamed up with Heinz to roll out limited edition sandwich-inspired Walkers flavours, with an on-pack promotion for shoppers, and activated this in key depots with eye-catching sandwich displays to promote the new range and drive engagement.

Within the crisps, snacks and nuts fixture, it’s a good idea to signpost NPD by siting it next to best-sellers. Our Doritos Chilli Heatwave and Tangy Cheese flavours are two of our most popular sharing bags, so the latest additions to the range – Doritos Heatburst and Roulette with TABASCO® Sauce – would be well placed alongside these.

WM – As we approach Christmas, what products and formats should wholesalers be stocking?

As shopper habits evolve, we have seen sharing bags accelerate in the impulse channel, experiencing +6.5% value growth4 to make up 20% of all consumption occasions in the last year5. People are relying on their local convenience stores more and more, visiting for a mid-week top-up shop. Seasonal occasions in particular mean that shoppers will be on the lookout for sharing formats they can enjoy with friends and family, so in the lead up to Christmas we would recommend wholesalers stock sharing formats for classic Walkers flavours, our premium Sensations range and Doritos favourites. It is a time when people will be looking to trade up, so sharing bags are perfect to include within secondary festive fixtures in-depot, encouraging cross-category purchases where relevant. We extended our Sensations range with three new exotic flavours earlier this year and these are ideal at this time of year when premium options from wellknown brands are bound to be sought after.

We’ve also recently rolled out Walkers Bugles BBQ in £1 price-marked packs – it’s the best-selling flavour in the range, so a good choice if wholesalers want to offer something new this Christmas. Our Pop Works & Company range would also be a good addition to any festive range, particularly as the popcorn segment continues to grow.

WM – PepsiCo moved into the popcorn segment last year with Pop Works, what is the opportunity for wholesalers in this sector?

We launched Pop Works & Company to tap into the premium popcorn segment, initially as a sharing format ideal for the big night in occasion, but we expanded into single-serve bags in June. Lunchtime and afternoon snacking are fast growing occasions in the popcorn segment, so this format will help wholesalers and retailers take advantage of this.

Popcorn sales have tripled in the past five years6, and our four flavours – Sticky Toffee Pudding, Peanut Butter & Caramel, Sweet & Salty and Lightly Sea Salted – help offer something different for shoppers on the go.

WM – How important is health within the wholesale and convenience channels and what products do you have to cater for this?

We are seeing more shoppers keen to opt for better-for-you snacks, and this trend looks set to continue as better-for-you single serve products are in growth +19%7.

As a result, we would recommend wholesalers look to big name brands, which people trust, for better-for-you alternatives. Our Walkers Sunbites Nut Mixes launched this summer in a 90g sharing format and 35g single-serve pack. The range includes a carefully selected mix of nuts, seeds and dried fruit, ideal for health-conscious consumers. Feedback we’ve had from our retail partners is that this is a growing area among their shoppers so they are looking for new products that cater for this demand.

WM – Are price-marked packs (PMPs) continuing to help drive sales and what range do you offer?

Price-marked packs continue to help drive sales in the impulse channel and particularly within sharing, PMPs are growing 11.9% faster than the rest of the segment (growing at 6.7%)8. People feel they are getting great value for money and in the convenience channel, Walkers PMP crisps sell on average 15% quicker than non-PMP variants9. As a result, we expanded our £1 PMP range in March to include family favourites: Squares Salt and Vinegar, French Fries Cheese and Onion, and Walkers Max Steak, alongside Bugles BBQ.

CASE STUDY Hancocks Cash & Carry, Loughborough

Walkers contributed to a category review project with leading wholesaler Hancocks at its flagship store in Loughborough. The depot was stocking over 270 savoury snack lines, but after conducting an in-depth range analysis study, the range was reduced by 30%. In addition, the space was optimised to improve ease of shop for customers. After 12 weeks of trading, the results showed an 11% uplift in sales, versus the previous period, and an incredible 48% reduction in wastage.

Andy Cutts, Cash & Carry Director for Hancocks, said: “We invited Walkers in to look at the crisps and snacks range as part of an overall plan to improve the customer experience in depot. The advice they gave has been invaluable and we’re absolutely delighted with the results. Following their guidance, we replannogrammed to focus on best-selling lines and we improved the categorisation of our crisps and savoury snacks, with better signposting to help customers find what they are looking for quickly.”