Food packaging can have a significant impact on food taste, quality and longevity. But none of that matters if the product does not get picked up off of the shelf and purchased. As we move into a new world of what makes a product marketable and peek at one of the biggest snacking events of the year – the Super Bowl – we want to know what marketers and brand packaging professionals are doing to encourage consumers to pick up their bags of chips and containers of dip before the big game. So we went to the store (our local Safeway) and asked consumers why they picked up a bag of chips.
Americans spend over $20 million on tortilla chips and a whopping $140 million on potato chips during the week before the Super Bowl (presumably for scooping up the 140 million pounds of avocados-a-la-guacamole). We asked why customers chose the bag of chips they did. Here’s what we heard.
Tostitos Party Safe Bag
With giant stanchions of Super Bowl-friendly items ringing the check-out aisles and almost every endcap, customers still aimed for the chip aisle, many picking up the Tostitos Restaurant Style chips. Of the five people we spoke with, two mentioned hearing about the Party Safe Bag that Tostitos launched prior to game day. The sleek black bag comes with a built-in sensor that, when blown on, turns into a red steering wheel when alcohol is detected and includes an Uber code and a “don’t drink and drive” message. Though we did not see this bag at the store, the “cool” factor drove interest in the brand.
Positioned close to the deli counter, portion-sized bags of Takis Zombie and Takis Fuego resemble rolled tortillas. Coated with salsa and lemon powder (Fuego flavor also has hot chile pepper), Takis (a product of Barcel USA, the snack division of Mexico’s Grupo Bimbo) were selected by a young man who was looking for “spicy snacks.” (He chose Fuego.)
Towards the back of the store, Mission boasted a huge display of just tortilla chips. We inquired of one customer why she chose the Mission Tortilla Strips. “You get a lot of chips for the price,” she said (the Safeway Club price was two bags for $5), confirming that product and its packaging is just one of the four P’s in the classic marketing mix.
In My Family’s Basket – Skinny Pop, Fritos, Safeway Organics and Ruffles
What made it into our shopping basket was determined partly by price (Mom loves bundled pricing) and partly by demand from my husband and two boys. “Can you get some Fritos?” “Oh! We love Boom-Chick-a-Pop!” and my insistence on purchasing only GMO-free corn products (except for those Fritos) determined what went into our cart on Super Bowl weekend.
Admittedly, my team’s methods are imperfect (and involved minors) and our stats are not grounded in science. But there it is. Brand packaging drives sales but to move product before the Super Bowl, don’t neglect any of the four P’s of the marketing mix: placement, price, product and promotions all have their place in selling chips.