Paul Hill caught up with PepsiCo’s wholesale trading controller Matt Goddard to discuss the latest developments with the company’s Quaker brand
How has PepsiCo wholesalers grow sales in the past 12 months?
There’s been a lot going on. The market has changed drastically in the past 12 months with the reach of independent retail evolving during the first lockdown and wholesalers have had to adapt their ranging accordingly in order to deal with the changing nature of convenience stores. For these reasons, we’ve been working closely with wholesalers to make sure they’ve got the right ranges and packs of our Quaker range. This has involved a lot of our conversations around PMP, on the go and take home.
We’ve also been working with some foodservice wholesalers that have made the move to a B2C service and offered them help with ranging, pricing and promotion. I don’t think i’ve spoken to one foodservice wholesaler that started this new service who isn’t going to continue it. The way of thinking now appears to be to run B2B and B2C services parallel to each other, and with experience in both channels we’re able to help.
What trends and opportunities are emerging that customers can take advantage of?
It’s a pretty interesting category in the sense that it is split pretty evenly between take home and on the go, and as a result, it’s important wholesalers stock both type evenly. In lockdown, take home obviously saw an increase with 30% more people eating breakfast at home, whereas on the go increased in popularity out of lockdown. From our perspective, we sat and looked at each channel and planned each specific range. You could say we had more complexity than most in the market, but it allowed us to service each channel more specifically. The rediscovering of local independents happened within two weeks and those trends have stuck. As a result, we launched a 1kg £1.99 PMP. This was introduced in the summer ready for the busy winter season.
What challenges has PepsiCo had to overcome in the past year?
We had to change and pivot making sure our products were getting out there and feeding the nation. In the same way wholesalers were classed as key workers, we also were. So we faced a challenge to make sure we were maximising our value through the supply chain. For example, our staff that were working in the on-trade were moved to the independent retail side of the business in order to deal with the extra work needed in that channel. So moving around our assets became a way to deal with this and in terms of overall kilos sold, we’ve had a fantastic year as a brand.
What is PepsiCo’s greatest achievement in the past year?
We’ve done a lot of work with charities and food banks as a business which we’re very proud of. But from a specific wholesale perspective, we’re very happy with the work we’ve done with retailers and making sure wholesalers are stocked, because the whole system would have fallen down if we didn’t have a robust supply chain with products on shelves. We did very well to keep a constant supply of products in the channel, which allowed everyone to help feed the nation but also have stable businesses. From a brand and marketing point of view, in a tough and uncertain year, the Go Forage campaign from our Walkers business was applied to our Quaker business in which we urged breakfast eaters to assess the taste possibilities that are easily accessible in their own cupboards, fridges and freezers. It was not only a great way of being relevant, but also offered very helpful advice to the general public.
The rediscovering of local independents happened within two weeks and those trends have stuck. as a result, we launched a 1kg £1.99 PMP.
Are you planning any activity of which wholesalers should be aware?
We recently launched a brand-new PMP format of our Porridge to Go range in Golden Syrup and Strawberry, Raspberry & Cranberry flavours. We’re also continuing to promote and looking to capitalise on the 1kg £1.99 PMP. Furthermore, our Go Forage 2 campaign will begin in January.
What advice would you give wholesalers looking to grow sales in the cereals and PMPs categories?
Traditionally wholesale has been lagging behind of other parts of the market in relation to data and insight, but the past year we’ve seen some huge steps forward with how they’re using it. But there still a long way to go to make sure it’s being used to improve shopping experience and profits. Proper use of data in which wholesalers partner with suppliers will allow this. The industry has come a long way but it needs to keep this pace up in 2021 and the ones that adapt and don’t become stagnant are the ones that are going to be successful.
I’d also be really clear about categorising between one the go and take home, as well as maintaining a focus on all PMPs as we head towards a recession.