Which Snacks will Take a Bite out of Market Share?

Flamin’ Hot Cheetos – the reigning king of U.S. snacks according to goPuff’s 2020 Off the Shelf report – have a curious origin story. Some claim that the Flamin’ Hot concept was cooked up not by food scientists or innovation teams at Frito-Lay, but by a man who started work as a janitor at a Frito-Lay factory. Whether it’s an urban legend or not, the fact is that every top selling snack started life as someone’s good idea.

So, how can snack brands bring the next billion-dollar idea to life? The snack aisle is incredibly competitive and limited shelf space means that brands really need to stand out to get in the carts and hearts of consumers. Thankfully, concept testing can provide science-backed predictions to brands about how their ideas will be perceived by the public.

Test Your Idea to Gauge Profit Potential

Food brands love April Fool’s Day, but the pace of innovation in food and drink is so fast that the joke products are often out-weirded by the real ones. So at System1, we decided to test some of these imaginary concepts alongside recent real product launches. Our Test Your Idea platform provides predictive insights on concepts like product prototypes, product names, logos and more.

The platform assigns a 1-5 Star rating to each concept based on three key metrics. The higher the Star rating, the more profit potential the idea has. 

  • Predicted Acceptance – This is the percentage of people who back the idea to succeed in the market (by buying shares in it in an imaginary trading scenario). 
  • Speed of Trading – This measures how easy an idea is to process and is determined based on the time it takes a person to note whether they’d buy or sell shares in the idea. 
  • Emotional Pull – System1’s FaceTrace® details the emotions that people feel regarding each concept. 

Read on to learn about the five snack concepts we tested and how their metrics varied.

Which Salty Snacks will Take a Bite out of Market Share?

This April Fool’s Day, Walkers got plenty of social media attention for its sandwich-sized crisps, while Sun Maid announced its Grape Jerky (which was actually on sale for a limited time on April 1 despite its origins as a prank).

On the serious side of the snack aisle, Pepperidge Farm recently brought its Goldfish Mega Bites to shelves, which are 50% larger and created specifically for adults. Frito Lay has also focused on new product development. Its Lay’s Layers are multidimensional chips packed with flavour. Lastly, Popchips recently overhauled its brand identity and announced additional flavours – Fiery Buffalo and Fully Loaded – in new and distinctive packaging.

With Test Your Idea, we know which snacks people want to reach for most.

  • Popchips’ new flavours – 5.7 Stars
  • Lay’s Layers – 5.6 Stars
  • Walkers Giant Bread-shaped Crisps – 5.5 Stars – Download the Test Your Idea report
  • Goldfish Mega Bites – 2 Stars
  • Sun Maid Grape Jerky – 1.3 Stars

Every type of chip scored very well, with respondents noting that Popchips’ new options look tasty and offer a healthier option, and Lay’s Layers provide extra flavour, crunch and novelty. What was really striking though is that Walkers’ Giant Bread-shaped crisps also scored 5-Stars, even though they were only meant as a joke. Respondents were enthusiastic about the huge crisps and even suggested new flavours for Walkers to develop. We’re sure nobody at Walkers planned to actually make these crisps, but the verdict is clear – it’s a winner.

Not all the ideas performed so well. Sun Maid’s Grape Jerky wasn’t meant seriously, and that’s just as well, given how much disgust it provoked. Meanwhile, the real product Goldfish Mega Bites only managed 2-Stars, with consumers not particularly happy at the juxtaposition of “goldfish” and “bites” in an adult snack!

Is your brand looking to determine whether an idea will be profitable in the market? Sign up to be the first to know when the fully automated version of our Test Your Idea platform is available.