Today is National Potato Chip day. What better moment for PepsiCo to highlight the snack achievements and potential of its potato-chip brands and products not only in the United States but around the world?
Without specifically mentioning the ubiquitous chip's solemn day of observance in America, PepsiCo reminded everyone today that its global "Banner Sun" potato-chip portfolio has grown to more than $10 billion in annual retail sales, anchored by Lay's, the world' largest food brand and the No. 1 potato-chip brand globally.
PepsiCo said that the Banner Sun logo — which appears on packaging for leading brands such as Lay's, Walkers, Smith's and Sabritas — "has grown into a symbol for quality potato chips around the world." Most Banner Sun sales come from non-U.S. markets including Russia, Spain and India.
One key to its chip success around the world, PepsiCo feels, is its emphasis on local flavors, including Lay's Red Caviar chips in Russia, Lay's Numb & Spicy Hot Pot chips in China, and Sabritas Abodabas (tomato and chili) in Mexico.
Maybe it's because of management's recent and continuing tussles with investors, but PepsiCo is doing a lot of tallying lately. A few weeks ago, for instance, it announced that Diet Mountain Dew, Brisk and Starbucks ready-to-drink beverages each had grown into more than $1 billion in annual retail sales, extending the company's portfolio of "billion-dollar brands" to 22 from 19 in total.
Of course, some people believe that such billion-dollar observations by PepsiCo amount to numerical merchandising, if you will. One skeptic noted recently on MSN Money, for example, that the profit contributions of the Brisk and Starbucks brands are probably way below typical brands with $1 billion in sales because PepsiCo shares those brands in partnerships with Unilever and Starbucks.
And since when should Diet Mountain Dew really be considered separately from the Mountain Dew brand? Isn't it just a product in that mega-brand line?
In any event, PepsiCo's brandmeisters are working overtime these days to figure out how to leverage their brand porfolios even more effectively. One growing possibility is more co-branding of leading marques such as Pepsi Max and Lay's, executives said recently at the Consumer Analyst Group conference in New York.
In the meantime, it isn't entirely clear why March 14th is National Potato Chip Day, perhaps other than the fact that tomorrow wasn't available because it's "Buzzard's Day" and "Everything You Think is Wrong Day," and that yesterday was "Jewel Day."
Some other potato-chip brands are celebrating with simple observances such as "fun potato chip trivia" offered up by Michigan's Better Made brand. Example: The first recipe for potato chip, called "fried shavings," appeared in Mary Randolf's Virginia House-Wife cookbook in 1824.
But then, PepsiCo's too big for that kind of thing.