Bringing snacks direct to consumers

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When shopping habits changed during COVID-19, Frito-Lay had to change as well. How was the snack giant going to continue to put its snacks in the hands of consumers and understand their snacking habits while many were wary of visiting grocery or convenience stores during the pandemic? The answer – sell them direct 

The most profitable division of parent company PepsiCo, Frito-Lay is known primarily for its dominance in the world of salty snacks. Now with over 29 snack brands and 55,000 employees, the company produces and sells its staple products, including Fritos, Cheetos, Doritos, Tostitos, Lay’s and Ruffles, while also continuing to acquire new specialty and niche brands and experimenting with innovation in its main product lines (new flavors, “baked,” reduced fat, organic, etc.). 

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What we set out to do

Shopping habits changed, Frito-Lay had to change as well. To continue to put its snacks in the hands of consumers and uderstand their snacking habits during the pandemic, we had to sell directly to them.

In what seemed like an instant, the world changed. And consumer behavior and purchasing habits changed right alongside it. What normally was purchased through in-store experiences and often “impulse” purchases at checkout, Frito-Lay had to find a new way to ensure their valued customers could continue enjoying their variety of salty snacks even amid a worldwide pandemic. The company also wanted to ensure it was gathering info on snacking habits so that future snack improvements could be made. But with its roots in B2B manufacturing and distribution, the company needed to find a new way to serve the masses. And luckily, they had purchased the rights to the URL over two decades ago. 

Woman with remote watching television while snacking from a large bowl.

“We very early in the crisis realized that consumers were going to need an alternate way to buy snacks, given that shopping habits are changing so quickly.”

Chief Transformation Officer Michael Lindsey told Business Insider.


The team at Frito-Lay needed a new partner to bring this initiative across the finish line and serve as a longer-term partner for future iterations and improvements.
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When Frito-Lay contacted Bottle Rocket, they were well on their way to the creation of the all-new website. The team at Frito-Lay needed a new partner to bring this initiative across the finish line and serve as a longer-term partner for future iterations and improvements. Not only was this website going to create an additional stream of revenue for the company, but it was also going to provide them a never-before seen look into first-party customer insights around snacking preferences that will inform future business growth. This effort will also be key in helping Frito-Lay reach ambitious revenue growth goals by 2025.  

Just two weeks from the planned 30-day launch date, the team at Bottle Rocket stepped in and quickly provided value through enhanced visual elements and graphics, as well as an improved user experience for the initial MVP website launch. 

The MVP site first went live on May 4, 2020 thus opening a new revenue stream and making a huge statement to the world about what they are doing to support changing consumer needs and habits. And they made it publicly clear that this was only the beginning.
"You don't wait until the product is perfect," said Chief Transformation Officer Michael Lindsey to Business Insider. "It's a concept that traditional [consumer packaged goods] companies have been slower to embrace and it's one that we are embracing significantly."

For the initial launch, Bottle Rocket supported the Frito-Lay team with full production ready designs, as well as experience design strategy consulting, recommendations and experience mapping to ensure the best possible experience for the first MVP.  

Although the initial site launch was successful in a short 30-day timeframe, consumer-facing ecommerce solutions are living pieces of software that require ongoing investment to remain relevant. In true agile fashion, the Bottle Rocket and Frito-Lay teams immediately began working on a fast follow phase 2 release that debuted on August 4, 2020.   

What began with a detailed discovery session, user persona and mission statement exercises, later emerged as a new modernized site that serves as the backbone for the Frito-Lay snack brands’ DTC efforts with customers.  

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Screenshots of Frito-Lay snacking landing page
The site leverages ecommerce best practices to ensure customer satisfaction. The site is indexable by flavor profile, snacking occasion, diet needs and other key elements of user preferences to enhance the shopping experience. This provides Frito-Lay with detailed information on personalized shopping preferences that can in turn be utilized to provide actionable information for product placement in grocery and other locations.
Frito-Lay new Homepage
Two shopping funnels drive users deeper into the experience and allows them to choose their preferred method of shopping.
Frito-lay home screen authentication
Personalized shopping experiences will offer recommendations from past purchases.
Frito-Lay guided shopping
Guided shopping allows customers to filter to snacks that fit their flavor preferences or lifestyle.

In the News

Frito-Lay Launches Direct-To-Consumer Sites Amid Pandemic Snacking Surge

DALLAS, May 11, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — As Americans seek comforts amid the coronavirus pandemic, snacking is experiencing a boon. And Frito-Lay’s new direct-to-consumer sites are launching just in time to meet this sea change.

Today the snacking giant that already has a presence in 94% of pantries across the U.S. launched, Frito-Lay’s e-commerce website focused solely on delivering brands like Tostitos and Ruffles straight to consumer homes. 

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