the task 

help frito-lay maintain their lead in the chip category

the segments

identify different kinds of chip eaters and get to know them

the solution

market to each of the 5 different segments through recommended messaging

the strategic thinking

the task

re-evaluate frito-lay’s chip market segments to help maintain the lead in the consumer chip category.


frito-lay currently dominates the chip category, and the category itself is thriving too. nearly nine in ten adults in the us have reported at least one purchase of chips in the past three months. 


solid growth in the market is driven by the increasing prevalence of snacking, a steady stream of new flavors, and the category’s status as a permissible indulgence. frito-Lay’s current portfolio offers a variety of chips appealing to an array of preferences.


however, due to people becoming more and more concerned with the health implications of what they consume, and the growing popularity of “healthy” or “craft” style chip brands, frito-lay faces a growing threat they need to address to ensure they maintain their domination.


we conducted several different types of research including social listening & secondary research (Mintel, IBISWorld, etc.), in-depth interviews, man-on-the-street interviews, and used this along with existing market research to guide our segmentation survey (behavioral, values-based questions with agree/disagree Likert scale questions).


through the results of our research, we were able to define five distinct segments of consumers in the chip market that could help frito-lay determine their communication strategies and advertising campaigns moving forward.


we identified five chip segments

recommendation #1: up the crunch!

release an extra-crunchy version of the classics people love


target: texture cravers

  • offer extra crunchy doritos, ruffles, and lays

  • similar to the ruffles mega crunch found in the mexican market, but using classic flavors

recommendation #2: embrace comfort

launch a campaign that embraces couch-sitting, comfort-seeking indulgence


target: comfort seekers

  • target media buy to viewing platforms that enable binge-watching, such as hulu, amazon prime, youtube, and espn+

  • consider spokespeople to portray unexpected comfort eaters 

recommendation #3: travel with flavors

travel with lay’s matched to the seasons


target: flavor adventurers

  • salted cucumber from russia in the summer

  • baked chicken with thyme from romania in the fall

  • winter onion from poland in the winter 

  • green tea from china in the spring

recommendation #4: refresh healthy offerings

innovate new products to appeal to a wider range of health-conscious consumers 

target: chip skeptics

  • expand simply line to include different cooking oils for dietary preferences and restrictions

  • expand dip offerings to include healthy, fresher options like hummus and veggie dips

  • rebrand baked as lower calorie chips versus low fat

recommendation #5: appeal to gourmet connoisseurs

buy small scale gourmet brands like route 11

target: chip socialites

  • similar to how big beer companies are acquiring local breweries

  • maintain independent branding, messaging, etc.

  • captures a different type of chip consumer 

oh, that's cool!

when your fresh bag of potato chips has more air than crunchy goodness, don't be alarmed. bags are actually filled with nitrogen that prevents the chips from oxidizing or turning stale.


who knew!?