Frito-Lay’s Big News: Microsizing

NEW YORK Forget carbs. Forget low-fat. The biggest diet trend for food marketers right now is microsizing, as many rush to emulate Kraft’s success with its 100-Calorie Snack Packs.

The latest to jump on the bandwagon is PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay, which plans to roll out 100-Calorie Mini Bites of Doritos, Cheetos and SunChips. Those follow entries from Procter & Gamble’s Pringles, and cans of Coke and Sprite adhering to the 100-calorie quota.

Frito-Lay’s Baked! Cheetos sports a Smart Spot logo, signifying the snack meets nutritional criteria set by the Food and Drug Administration and the Institute of Medicine. The effort builds on Frito-Lay’s three-year-old strategy to focus more attention on health and wellness and nix trans fats.

A TV and print campaign, via Omnicom Group’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, and BBDO, New York, will employ a “straightforward message that they can now have the same great-tasting snack brands they’ve always had in portion-control sizes that simplify purchasing decisions,” said Jeff Swearingen, vp of shopper marketing at Frito-Lay in Plano, Texas.

While a few 100-calorie items have been reformulated (some Nabisco products are crispier, lighter), Frito-Lay is trying to differentiate itself by not tampering with original taste profiles.

The media spend was not disclosed. Doritos got $30 million in measured ad spending last year; Cheetos had $16 million, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

The launch comes after research showed consumers “wanted to manage calories but are incredibly busy to spend time reading nutrition labels, and wanted packaging that takes the guesswork out of calorie control,” said Swearingen. Hence, while there are thousands of products containing 100 calories, marketers are now flagging that fact prominently on the front of the package (as well as on nutrition labels).