The Frito-Lay company is a multi-billion dollar subsidiary of PepsiCo that produces and distributes convenient foods. The company, which employed 48,000 people in 2011, makes such well-recognized products as Cheetos, Doritos, Rold Gold Pretzels and Sun Chips, as well as its flagship products Lays potato chips and Fritos corn chips. The business, whose antecedents date back to the early 1930s, owes much of its success to the efforts of its marketing division.
Frito-Lay attracts consumers through extensive advertising that targets specific groups. The company gains extensive recognition through advertising its snack foods to families with children, offering products in vending machines and using brand mascots such as Chester Cheeto to appeal to its youthful demographic. Charles Larson, author of the book, “Persuasion: Reception and Responsibility,” states Frito-Lay taps into the child and teen market by allocating 9 percent of its advertising resources on website advertisements. The company also engages in partnerships with other businesses known to attract kids and teens.
Companies must be flexible to suit the changing tastes of their consumers. Frito-Lay introduced its “Baked” line of potato chips to accommodate consumers desiring healthier alternatives to fried snack foods. The focus on the environment in the late 2000s compelled the company to introduce the biodegradable snack bag for its line of Sun Chips. Elizabeth Royte cites another instance in her book, “Garbage Land: Secrets of the Trash Trail,” how Frito-Lay was one of several companies to offer an organic line of products in hopes of tapping into the rapidly expanding market of eco-conscious products.
Another marketing goal is gaining market share from different ethnic groups or by going overseas. The company meets this goal by introducing products with flavors and a packaging design that appeals to a specific region. Ken Black, in “Business Statistics,” says Frito-Lay offered the Hispanic community chile and tomato chips, fried corn strips and lime-seasoned chips. The company also included a smiley-face on the packaging to remind these consumers of a Mexican sister brand that used a similar image. Frito Lay engages in similar marketing efforts with the Chinese and Indian markets.
Frito-Lay uses marketing efforts to overcome controversies related to its products. The health movement and the Atkins diet posed significant threats to a company that purveys high-carb, high-calorie snack foods. In some cases, Frito-Lay piggybacks on health trends such as locally grown food by offering chips from potatoes grown in the U.S. The company also uses advertising techniques to make women feel less guilty about their eating habits by touting healthier ingredients.