How Frito-Lay uses 'co-creation' to drive fast innovation

Geoffrey Precourt

Extraordinary times often call for extraordinary measures. And, with a company culture that is "fast and furious", PepsiCo's Frito-Lay salted snacked business is overhauling its product innovation process to meet the needs of the times.

According to Pat Masker, Senior Director, consumer strategy and insight, at Frito-Lay, there are some 38,000 options in a grocery store. "That, alone, can be a little overwhelming." Complicating the challenge: "In the last five years, the amount of innovation [in food-related products] has doubled, but retailers are onto that trend and actually are pulling things off the shelves, reducing the number of SKUs."

Masker was addressing an audience at the 2012 Market Research Event (TMRE) in Boca Raton, Florida. "At Frito-Lay, the expectation is that we will innovate and refresh," she said. "We own a big share of the snacks business, but we maintain a focus on innovation."