Paqui tortilla chips competes with Doritos via Amazon-Whole Foods acquisition

By Douglas Yu contact

- Last updated on GMT

Paqui's reintroduced Carolina Reaper chips surpass the heat level of a ghost pepper. Pic: Amplify Snack Brands
Paqui's reintroduced Carolina Reaper chips surpass the heat level of a ghost pepper. Pic: Amplify Snack Brands

Related tags: Tortilla chips, Flavor, Potato chip

Paqui Chips said the Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods can help its brand and others in the Amplify Snack Brands' portfolio enter as many stores as possible.

In addition to Paqui, Amplify Snack owns Skinny Pop popcorn, Oatmega protein bars and recently-acquired British potato chips brand Tyrrell’s. The company said, even though these brands target different consumers, they all fall under the “better-for-you snacking space”​ because of their authenticity in terms of ingredients.

Building e-commerce

“We’re building our e-commerce platform for Paqui,”​ said brand manager Jeff Day. “I think the [Amazon and Whole Foods] acquisition can certainly benefit our products. As a small brand, we have an advantage versus those created decades ago: We are a non-GMO, gluten-free and boldly flavored snack without all the artificial ingredients.”

Jeff Day Paqui Chips
Jeff Day

"Paqui is committed to being a ‘better-for-you Doritos’ with modern-day taste expectations and claims."

However, using healthy and simple ingredients to lure more consumers to buy natural food is no longer a strategy played only by emerging companies. For example, PepsiCo recently launched a line of organic snack​ products, called Simply, under its various brands, including Lays, Doritos and Cheetos, hoping to gain more distribution in Whole Foods.

Day said Paqui does have to compete with major established products, even though it was only launched nationally after Amplify Snack acquired the Texan-based company two years ago.

“In tortilla chips, we would like to think of Paqui as a eat-the-chip-on-its-own snack. There is a whole separate entity of tortilla chips that you dip them into salsa or guacamole. But we’re competing with much more boldly flavored snacks through more innovations in the future.

“Paqui is committed to being a ‘better-for-you Doritos’ with modern-day taste expectations and claims,”​ he added.

Hotter than ghost pepper

Recently, Paqui brought back its Carolina Reaper flavored chips in time for Halloween. The chip surpasses the heat level of a ghost pepper, Day told BakeryandSnacks.

Amplify Snack said it first introduced the flavor under a campaign called “One Chip Challenge”​ last year, which sold out online in 30 minutes. But the pepper used in this year’s tortilla chips are “25% hotter”​ which in turn makes the product spicier, said Day.

“We had this idea of creating the hottest chips in the world packaged in a coffin-shaped box. Everything was handmade and people went nuts for this challenge. We decided to make it an annual event and brought it back this year for Halloween.

“From a macro trend standpoint, spicy flavor continues to gain popularity. We see Paqui’s sales hitting a nerve with some of its spicy offerings,”​ he added.

Paqui currently comes in five flavors, including Wild Wild Ranch, Cool Salsa Verde, Spicy Queso, Nacho Cheese and, Haunted Ghosted Pepper, available in all channels across the US.

“We expect strong growth [for Paqui] in Whole Foods, Sprouts, Walmart, 7-Eleven, and all other retail outlets,”​ said Day. 

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