The snack titan says the Cracker Jack’D line targets the millennial male consumer with a bold range of nine flavors marketed as ‘snacks with impact’, including two ‘Power Bites’ which are caffeinated and use ground coffee as an ingredient.
The line was launched back in January after more than a year in development and has now been rolled out nationally across US convenience stores.
“We’ve taken a lot of steps to ensure this line is targeted to adults,” said Chris Kuechenmeister, spokesperson for Frito-Lay North America.
“There are two niche flavors which contain ground coffee as an ingredient. As a result these snacks are caffeinated, but it’s about the same amount you’d find if you made an 8oz cup of coffee,” Kuechenmeister told BakeryandSnacks.com.
“We looked at what male, adult consumers want and they want intense flavors like pizza, cheese, chocolate and we also know coffee is something they enjoy too,” he said.
Kuechenmeister said the caffeine content is clearly labeled on the front and back of pack.
Strategic convenience store target
Frito-Lay has specifically chosen to only sell the line in convenience stores, he said.
“The line is not actually sold in the snack aisle. It’s only in convenience stores which we know has a strong adult consumer base… And it sits among similar products like nuts and granola – products that are targeted at adults,” he said.
Along with this, the packaging is very different and distinctive – clearly marketed towards adults, he added.
Asked if the choice to market the products in smaller convenience stores rather than larger retailers would stump growth, Kuechenmeister said the company was confident the strategy would pay off.
“The convenience store strategy was very intentional for us with this brand and we think it will drive a lot of success for us,” he said.
Back in November last year during the development stages of the new line, Frito-Lay came up against the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) who slammed the snack maker’s use of caffeine in the snacks.
The US nutrition and health advocacy group said that even if the caffeinated snacks are not directly advertised to children, it is certain that young children will consume Cracker Jack’D.
It also argued that Frito-Lay was in violation of US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations and the move would set a bad precedent for other food makers to use caffeine in products.
Currently, the US FDA has no regulation on use of caffeine in foods – and it is this lack of standard that prompted the CSPI to suggest Frito-Lay was in violation.