Why Diamond is Bulking Up on Pringles


For Pringles now, it’s not about the brand’s checkered past as the last food-product orphan of Procter & Gamble. It’s about what Diamond Foods might be able to do with the venerable chip line now that the company known for nuts is using its purchase of Pringles to vault into the top tier of U.S. salty-snacks empires.

Frito-Lay is still No. 1 by far, but adding Pringles to its stable in a $2.35-billion pickup from P&G will allow Diamond to become a strong No. 2 player in the category. In 2008, San Francisco-based Diamond acquired Pop Secret from General Mills and leapt into the popcorn category. Now, the company founded by California walnut growers will attempt to fire up growth of one of the most mature brands in the segment.

It was just a matter of time before P&G let Pringles go.[more]

The brand was a half-century old, a relic of the company’s capabilities with cooking oils. And over the last several years, P&G already had jettisoned its other native food brands – Jif peanut butter, Folger’s coffee and Crisco shortening – as it continued to pare itself back to key competencies in health, beauty and household products.

True, P&G has bumped up advertising behind Pringles and had invested in new flavors and other innovations in an attempt to keep the highly engineered chips a fresh proposition in a snack market that increasingly is turning to better-for-you ideas. But P&G basically was keeping Pringle’s fresh for some kind of sale.

For Diamond, such an iconic brand is a lot to swallow, and its executives have lots of ideas for how to energize Pringles, including more marketing and distribution. And Pringles should help Diamond reach a younger demographic with its pre-existing brands.

So this looks like a win-win deal. Now please pass the Pringles.