Brand Watch: ​​​​​​​PepsiCo Embraces Shopper Insights

The manufacturer partners with SymphonyAI Retail CPG to build business across multiple categories.

A European division of PepsiCo has successfully leveraged primary shopper data in unique ways.

PepsiCo Northern Europe combined its internal advanced analytics capability with retailer data and solutions from SymphonyAI Retail CPG to bring shopper-led store clustering to more than 1,000 stores. The work resulted in a reset of the salty snacks category in 2022 at a Netherlands-based multinational grocer, according to a written case study.

“The Netherlands is one of the highest penetration markets for snacks, at nearly 96%, so PepsiCo and our partner can’t really deepen category penetration,” said Jan Haluza, manager of data science and analytics at PepsiCo Northern Europe, in the case study. “Instead, we focus on understanding targeting shoppers very precisely to best align our assortment and category strategy with their needs. We worked with the retailer to undertake a strategic snack category overhaul including consumer insights, space management and supply chain, to drive a major strategic reset.”

PepsiCo Northern Europe and the undisclosed retailer collaborated on an end-to-end, data-driven approach centered on a four-step process:

Integrate relevant data to create a powerful data set;

Identify areas of highest growth potential;

Design a solution with tailored in-store value propositions and personalized shopper engagement to unlock growth; and

Convert opportunities to growth using continual measurement and improvement.

In this case, the large data set indexed as many as 1,000 characteristics per store. The comprehensive information meant that PepsiCo Northern Europe and the retailer could run advanced analytics models on the data, according to the case study.

After grouping the stores into three shopper-led clusters, PepsiCo had detailed discussions with the retailer about the clusters and solutions for each. The manufacturer used SymphonyAI for assortment optimization for each cluster while analyzing incremental share of market and assortment models to generate the best scenario for each cluster. Finally, PepsiCo generated planograms for each shelf specifically for different clusters, Haluza said in the case study.

The comprehensive project met multiple goals for the retailer and PepsiCo, said Tessa Maas, senior category manager, food, at PepsiCo Northern Europe.

“The strategic approach [was] tied to overall category vision and how to grow snacks in the future — by brand, flavor, etc., including incorporating shopper decision trees,” Maas said in the study. “We took the time to learn from shoppers how they actually navigate a shelf — do [they] start with a flavor and then find a brand? Or start with the brand and search for a flavor? We developed different priorities, objectives and, in the end, solutions for each cluster.”

The success of the category reset and PepsiCo Northern Europe’s collaboration with Symphony AI and the retailer yielded many benefits. It can serve as a best practice for other PepsiCo markets, Haluza said.