PepsiCo fuels full-portfolio innovation

Concerned you’re leaving your best innovation ideas on the cutting room floor? PepsiCo was too. Dive into how PepsiCo used early-stage testing to identify seven winning innovations to launch across its portfolio of snack brands in 60% less time than its global average.

Key outcomes

  • Finding winning concepts

    Identified seven winning innovation ideas to launch across a portfolio of snack brands

  • Beating everyone to the punch

    Moved from the ideation to innovation stage in 60% less time than the brand’s global average

  • Getting insight faster

    Gained context to understand how each early-stage concept would perform in market


Finding breakthrough innovation

Taking a full-portfolio view: PepsiCo set out to develop a strategic innovation plan that would maximize the collective power of its full portfolio of brands — identifying the right opportunities to launch over a multi-year horizon with multiple go-to-market strategies.

Finding the real breakthrough opportunities: Rather than incremental or refresh innovation, the company was looking for true breakthrough ideas for its Frito-Lay brands. Following a front-end innovation process, the team ideated 37 early-stage concepts.

They needed a way to learn about those early-stage ideas and spot the ones that were worth advancing. Traditional tools only categorize concepts as stop, proceed with caution, or green for go. Typically, the “green’” ideas are biased towards line extensions. The measurement is focused on scale rather than impact to the portfolio, so they often fail to identify breakthrough or targeted opportunities.

We were testing too late in the innovation process when ideas had been pared down - marketing felt we could be leaving great ideas behind. With Prioritize It, we test early & often to gain deeper context about what ideas have breakthrough potential.
Ryan DirkmaatDirector of Consumer Insights
Pepsico logo in black on a transparent background


An iterative testing approach with Prioritize It

The company turned to Prioritize It to get its 37 early concepts in front of consumers quickly. They used rough sketches of products and simplified articulations of ideas (not lengthy concepts) in front of consumers with just a few clicks.

Prioritize It categorized ideas according to their trial & breakthrough potential, plotting them along a grid as either “short-term trial,” “seed and grow,” “scale and sustain,” “emergent,” or “deprioritize.” With each concept mapped out in this way, the team gained a more granular understanding of go-to-market strategies and performance.

Due to the speed and relative cost of Prioritize It, the team was able to do additional testing to continue to iterate on the ideas after the first round. After reviewing the feedback, the team dropped some of the 37 concepts, added a few more, and optimized concepts that showed promise, but didn’t demonstrate as much breakthrough potential as expected. Those remaining concepts were tested in a second round.


A compelling short list of innovation ideas

After two rounds of feedback from Prioritize It, PepsiCo landed on seven prioritized concepts across Lays, Doritos, Cheetos, and Ruffles brands. Prioritize It had categorized each of these concepts as either “scale and sustain” or “shortterm trial” opportunities.

The Zappi difference

Iterative testing: Zappi’s faster speed and lower cost allowed for a more iterative approach, which resulted in multiple rounds of testing and refining between rounds to find the best version of each idea.

Faster turnaround: The iterative approach and speed of response enabled the team to advance from the exploratory phase to a short list of strong ideas that could be moved into the innovation process within a few weeks — 60% less time than the global average for the brand.

Deeper consumer context: Zappi’s categorization of concepts beyond the traditional “proceed,” “proceed with caution,” and “stop” gave the team an indication of the potential for each concept. As opposed to using a traditional concept testing solution, they were able to gain more context into how concepts would perform in the market. With this information, PepsiCo can guide the positioning and targeting of the innovations through the rest of the process to make sure each new innovation eventually lands with consumers. let's talk about you