In conversation with Frito-Lay’s Hispanic principal about strengthening the US-Latino connection and lessons learned during the pandemic

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

In conversation with Frito-Lay’s Hispanic principal about strengthening the US-Latino connection and lessons learned during the pandemic

Related tags: PepsiCo Frito-Lay, Hispanic and latino americans, Snacks, PepsiCo North America, Gamesa, Sabritas, Natuchips, diversity and inclusion

BakeryandSnacks talks to Antonio Escalona, senior VP and GM of PepsiCo North America’s recently created Hispanic Business Unit, about the company’s recent multi-million dollar investment in the Hispanic market and how the pandemic has swayed the company’s focus and impetus.

Frito-Lay is working hard to ensure its workforce reflects the Hispanic communities it serves​ by building a more diverse and inclusive workplace. It established the dedicated Hispanic Business Unit in 2020 to refocus its approach in serving this important slice of the market, leveraging the popularity of Latin American products to drive growth among both Hispanic and non-Hispanic audiences.

The company has announced a multi-million dollar investment into Hispanic markets by expanding the US distribution of the 100-year-old Gamesa, Sabritas and Natuchips brands – all to coincide with Hispanic Heritage Month (15 September-15 October 2021).

The Sabritas portfolio comprises a variety of products inspired by the authentic flavours of Latin America, such as Lay’s Limon, Doritos Dinamita, Ruffles Queso, and Turbos Flamas. Gamesa offers a full line-up of brands such as Marias Gamesa, Emperador, Mamut, and Arcoiris.

PepsiCo Hispanic brands

The investment includes launching 30 new Gamesa sales routes that will serve approximately 5,800 retail stores in Texas, installing 5,500 new in-store merchandising units and better equipping sales teams.

The company is also expanding the direct distribution of Sabritas snacks to nearly all US markets and introducing more Hispanic and non-Hispanic consumers to Natuchips plantain chips – originally from Lantin America and launched in the US in July this year.

Important market

“Hispanic Americans are extremely important to us and they have a strong influence on our growth as a company,”​ said Escalona.

“In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, we are excited to bring the tastes of home – wherever that is – to more consumers by ensuring their favuorite snacks are available when and where they want.”

BakeryandSnacks chats to Escalona about the major investment, along with the recently launched $50m Juntos Crecemos platform aimed at strengthening Hispanic-owned businesses in the US, including restaurants, bodegas and carnicerías

We also delve into what the snack producer doing to mark Hispanic Heritage Month, what changes Escalona has seen in the snack sector, how the rest of 2021 is expected to pan out and the lessons learned from the pandemic.

Tune in to find out more.

Frito-Lay North America is the $18bn convenient foods division of PepsiCo, headquartered in Purchase, New York. The snack giant operates more than 30 manufacturing facilities across the US and Canada, along with 200+ distribution centres to serve 315k retail customers every week through its direct-store-delivery (DSD) model.

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