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Building a long term relationship with a snack giant

A crisp start

In 2016 our first project with this global beverage and snacks company was integral in the new product development of the organization’s premium crisp lines. Using behavioral science we explored what was important to consumers in premium crisp products. Implicit reaction time tests allowed to prioritize the key qualities consumers look for in their perfect crisp, this was followed with a central location study and reaction time taste test which ranked characteristics.

A compelling middle

Our journey with the client continued in 2020, again with crisps, but also the broader snack market in the UK and CSD beverages in Russia. Our client had used price focused promotional tactics on the vast majority of products in this category for years. The pandemic changed this. Supply chain shortages and more at-home snacking provided the opportunity to reset people’s expectations and break the addiction to discounting. We designed a research process that tested dozens of nudges, such as anchoring, bundling, and time and volume limited offers, all through a virtual shelf designed to replicate and test in a realistic context. This process generated impact measures of promotional elements which we combined with the client’s price elasticity data. We then created a price impact simulator that the client team could use to understand the impact of nudges and shelf conditions on sales. This simulator gave our client a direct line in understanding causation and consequence for any pricing decision moving forward. 

A satisfying end … but to be continued

After several successful projects we were approached to explore some of our client’s big strategic questions. Across the year the consumer closeness team track a number of key trend landscapes, such as sustainability, health and value. Historically this was done through a monthly qualitative process with the findings used to influence product development, market strategy and positioning. The consumer closeness team wanted to look at new ways of uncovering impactful insights. After a pilot trial of a number of techniques, the consumer closeness team chose the Irrational Agency System 3 method. In particular they believed the depth of qual at the scale of quant that System 3 offered would provide unique insights that could drive change in the organization. The subsequent multi-country studies across the UK, France, Spain, Russia and Poland, in the health, sustainability  and value landscapes have been invaluable in allowing PepsiCo to keep track of consumer trends. What’s more the portal provided by Irrational Agency allows the team to keep going back to mine the data for more answers and do their own reporting. The project has won best insight internal awards in the organization, has become a key platform for decision making in the business, and an important reference point for comms and product strategy. 

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