Kellogg wants to give consumers another reason to buy Pringles when they want to indulge.
This month, the food manufacturer behind Special K, Pop-Tarts, and Corn Flakes is unveiling a new brand under the company’s massive chip line, calling it Pringles LOUD. The new line, which uses corn and grain-based crisps instead of potato in the core portfolio, is going to be sold in five new flavors. Those flavors include “Mighty Margarita Pizza,” “Spicy Queso” and “Fiery Chili Lime.” The goal: for these chips to have more layered, complex flavors than what is often found in a Pringles chip.
Kurt Simon, a senior director of brand marketing at Kellogg (K), told Fortune that in the $20 billion salty snacks category consumers are always looking for something new. “We do flavor innovation every year, looking at what’s happening in salty snacks or even more broadly in food,” Simon said, pointing out that Pringles has about 30 flavors on shelves today.
The goal with the Pringles LOUD line was to combine two types of innovations the brand has already tackled in the past but never combined: corn/grain-based chips and bolder flavors. When you munch on the Pringles Loud chips, you experience several different flavors, rather than just being hit with overwhelming spice or sour cream.
While Pringles experiments with flavors each year—including limited-time offerings like the recent sugar cookie flavor that was sold during the holidays—LOUD was a longer-term project. Kellogg is investing behind Pringles at a time when it is performing exceptionally well. The brand, which the cereal maker bought for $2.7 billion from Procter & Gamble (PG) back in 2012, has reported consistent double-digit sales growth in recent years according to data tracked by research firm Euromonitor. It generates more than $1.1 billion in annual sales in the U.S. market alone, Euromonitor says.
That sales growth from Pringles is a welcome reprieve for Kellogg, which has seen some sales pressure of late along with many other Big Food companies.
“Pringles still has plenty of room to grow,” said Kellogg Europe President Chris Hood during an analyst presentation in November. He added that innovation and geographic expansion would continue for the snack this year.
The sales strength for Pringles—which easily outpaces the low-single digit sales growth for the overall U.S. snacking category—seems to run counter with the narrative that consumers want to eat healthier and cleaner foods. While Big Food companies like Kellogg, PepsiCo (PEP) and Campbell Soup (CPB) are all aiming to launch newer foods that tout nutrition and healthy, they also know that consumers still want to indulge.
“Taste is king and the consumer wants great-tasting food and they aren’t willing to sacrifice for that,” said Simon. He says that with most salty snacks, Americans reaching for a bag of chips have already made the decision to indulge. So they are making a purchasing decision on flavor and price—not so much looking for something healthy. While some salty snacks have had some success selling healthier variations (most notably popcorn), chips are still viewed as a treat.
Pringles LOUD will hit national retail shelves throughout this month. They will retail for $1.69 per can.