BOSTON — What do Generation Z and millennial moms have in common? These two consumers groups are helping guide PepsiCo, Inc.’s product development, said Al Carey, chief executive officer, North America.
|Al Carey, c.e.o., North America, PepsiCo|
“We have a great deal of consumer research that tells us where the Gen Z consumer is going and the millennial moms,” Mr. Carey said during a Sept. 7 presentation at the Barclays Global Consumer Staples Conference in Boston. “Those are two we watch real carefully.”
A trend among millennial moms, for example, inspired a forthcoming product launch from PepsiCo’s Quaker business.
“I’ve only been involved with Quaker now for about four months, but Google ‘overnight oats,’ and see what comes up, and it’s this absolutely beautiful array of different overnight oats that millennial moms have invented,” Mr. Carey said. “I mean, the idea is you put oats in a jar overnight, pour in milk or yogurt, put in fruit, some people put in chocolate, some people put in peanut butter, and what you get at six hours later in the morning when your kids wake up for breakfast, is this wonderful, healthy product... I think there’s a great opportunity for Quaker to brand overnight oats. We have the dominant share, and I think this is an example of how you can take oats and turn it into something really healthy and on trend.”
Health and wellness is a key driver of product innovation at PepsiCo, which is also set to launch Tropicana with probiotics, Naked cold-pressed juices, Mtn Dew Kickstart with 60% less sugar, Stacy’s organic pita chips and Sabra vegetable-infused guacamole.
|Vivek Sankaran, president and c.o.o., Frito-Lay North America|
“We’ve had brands in the premium better-for-you space for a while, like Smartfood and Simply and such,” said Vivek Sankaran, president and chief operating officer, Frito-Lay North America. “We have doubled down on those. We have increased our investment there. And those, that portfolio of brands, for us is growing four times faster than the core. So there’s a lot of momentum on that front. And we are finding that there is a segment, a large segment of consumers who want better-for-you and premium but also want a brand they can recognize. And that’s playing to our strength.
“The other thing we are doing is we’re also incubating. We are incubating brands you won’t recognize it as a Frito-Lay product in the marketplace. And as we see something sticking, we’ll amplify it, so we’re starting to play that.”
PepsiCo also is offering consumers healthier options alongside its top brands, Mr. Sankaran said.
“You will see Doritos, but you’ll also see in a school reduced-fat Doritos,” he said. “You’ll see Smartfood; you’ll see Smartfood Delight. Smartfood Delight is 35 calories a cup. So first of all, we are giving choice to consumers on pretty much all our portfolio. Lay’s, reduced salt Lay’s, which does very well by the way.”