PepsiCo Lay’s launches ‘Lay’s Gourmet’ in India

Lay’s, the international potato chip brand, has brought in ‘Lay’s Gourmet’, a range of slowcooked premium chips. Directed to those people who want to indulge in a finer snacking experience, Lay’s Gourmet is available in three flavours – Lime & Cracked Pepper, Thai Sweet Chilli, and Vintage Cheese & Paprika.

According to Shailja Joshi, marketing director, potato chips category, PepsiCo India, Lay’s Gourmet was launched with the understanding of the needs of their consumers, and their research suggested that Indian consumers were evolving and willing to try more premium products across macro-snacking and food categories.

The research indicated that premium chips were doing well globally too. Lay’s Gourmet is a global product and exists in a lot of markets. So clearly, India could also look up to this product. For PepsiCo, the Lay’s Gourmet range is a premium launch in terms of how the brand wishes its consumers to perceive the product and its pricing. The packaging and the visual identity of the new range were initially tested with consumers, too.

It is interesting to note that the Indian flavours closely resemble their global counterparts. For instance, Lime & Black Pepper, which is available in global markets, became Lime & Cracked Pepper in India. Similarly, Vintage Cheddar & Caramelized Onion became Vintage Cheese & Paprika, and Thai Chilli & Lime became Thai Sweet Chilli.

Joshi points out that the pandemic has changed consumer behaviour, and some of it has changed for the better. “What we have learned from the pandemic is that in-home snacking continues to be a priority.” The timing of the launch is absolutely right because consumers have been evolving. They want to have more premium products. This is not a short-term phenomenon, and India is going to see the overall premium category grow, “explains Joshi.

Lay’s Gourmet will compete with the likes of Wingreens’ Naan Chips (butter garlic, chatpata pudina flavour), Pringles (sour cream & onion, cheddar cheese, barbeque) and other premium start-up snacking brands like BRB Popped Potato Chips, Hunter’s Gourmet, etc. However, most of these products are sold at a higher price point than Lay’s Gourmet, which costs Rs. 30 for 55 grams and Rs. 50 for 80 grams. On this price issue, Joshi says that a premium range is defined by many parameters, and one of them is the pricing. Today, the overall chip category, or even the packaged food category, is driven by the Rs. 5 or Rs. 10 price point. In this category, launching something that starts only at Rs. 30 is premium enough for the consumer that we are targeting, as it is three
price points above.

While the brand has defined the TG for its new launch in a certain demographical way, Joshi believes that most of the brand’s consumers should be able to evolve to Lay’s Gourmet on special occasions