Sales of snacks products across all the brands has grown by 5.9% on a YoY basis in Thailand, but the growth in PepsiCo is higher than its competitors, Bhandari told FoodNavigator-Asia in an interview.
In particular, the healthier, better-for-you products are seeing better performances.
“We have experienced good growth in the Fun-for-you portfolio, but our Better-for-you portfolio is growing faster than Fun-for-you,” he said.
One reason, he said, is that consumers “want to feel good about themselves.”
“Consumers would not talk in scientific terms when we do consumer insights… When we asked what a better-for-you product means to them, consumers say that it is about making the right food choices. In Thailand specifically, it is something that makes them feel good about themselves. To look good is a key driver,” he said.
An example of a popular Better-for-You snack in Thailand is Sunbites, which Bhandari hopes will be a master trademark of healthier snacks in time to come.
Bhandari shared that in a regular monthly brand tracking survey that the company undertakes, it found that consumers have consistently regarded Sunbites as a healthier snack.
A multigrain snack, Sunbites, which was launched eight years ago, enjoys market leadership in PepsiCo’s Thailand snacks category, along with Lay’s and Tawan brands.
“I am very proud to say that Sunbites is highly regarded as a healthier product to the consumers. It is seen as the number one better-for-you brand… We want to make Sunbites a master trademark of healthier products,” he said.
Just two weeks ago, PepsiCo expanded the Sunbites portfolio with the launch of Sunbites Plus, a rice cracker containing seaweed or riceberry. The firm is pouring 50 million baht into Sunbites Plus’ marketing campaign, he revealed.
“We have a lot of new products in our pipeline. In fact, we will be launching more new products in the next few months.”
Balancing taste and health
The use of healthier ingredients is not only limited to better-for-you and good-for-you products but fun-for-you products as well.
For instance, rice bran oil, which contains 50% less saturated trans-fat than palm oil, is used to make all potato chips under the Lay's brand, Bhandari said.
He also reiterated that the company aims to cut the amount of fat and sodium in their products by 2025.
For instance, at least three-quarters of the firm’s global foods portfolio volume will not exceed 1.1 grams of saturated fat per 100 calories by 2025. In addition, three-quarters of the firm’s global foods portfolio volume will not exceed 1.3 milligrams of sodium per calorie.