Blog: Andy MortonPepsiCo's 'drinkify' is no core strategy, but has Asian appeal

Andy Morton | 2 January 2013

The term 'Drinkify' popped up in a few end-of-year review lists, but it seems the new trend for “liquid snacks” apparently being pushed by PepsiCo's CEO Indra Nooyi is neither new nor trending.

The Financial Times flagged up the term last month after Nooyi mentioned it in an industry conference speech. The newspaper said PepsiCo was embarking on a strategy of combining its food and beverages to come up with products such as drinkable oatmeal. Before too long, other media picked up on the report and were running with the idea, often towards some rather imaginative Dr Moreau-style snack and drink hybrids. Think Pepsi-flavoured crisps or Frito-laced cola, if you dare.

Turns out PepsiCo have been thinking along these lines for some time now, since at least 2010, when it bought Russian dairy, baby food and juice manufacturer Wimm-Bill-Dann, a company spokesperson told me.  The FT report “was wrong and taken out of context”, the spokesperson said. “The background is that it's not a core strategy. It was just a one-liner at a beverage conference.”

That's not to say we'll never get the chance to try out Diet Frito Pepsi, though we may have to live in Asia. Innovation is a big deal to PepsiCo in developing markets, as shown by the opening of a US$40m research & development centre in Shanghai in November.

The company is proud of the brand loyalty it has built up in China through aggressive marketing and hopes combining those brands can bring exponential rewards. Tastes in Asia differ from PepsiCo's core US market - check out these cheese lobster Lays - and it will use the R&D hub to test what works and what doesn't. Maybe cheese-flavoured soft drinks is just what the region has been waiting for.

 

 


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