Cheetos have long been a favorite snack food in America, but it has a fairly limited menu application. Or so one might have thought. After all, it’s just a snack food, right? Wrong! Cheetos is one of many companies responding to changing consumer behavior patterns brought about the coronavirus pandemic. In this case, the product is in response to a rise in home cooking and the desire for comfort foods. PepsiCo’s new product combines these two desires into “Cheetos Mac ‘N Cheese.” The new product is packaged in boxes and cups and is available in three powerful flavors: Bold & Cheesy, Flamin’ Hot, and Cheesy Jalapeno.
Cheetos Mac ‘N Cheese was already in development prior to the pandemic and was scheduled to be released in 2020. However, the company moved at an accelerated pace once consumer patterns shifted due to the pandemic.
The branding even extends to the shape of the curling pasta noodle, which mimics the corkscrew-shaped tail of brand mascot Chester the cheetah. Currently, the new food is only available from Walmart, but a national retail roll-out is anticipated in 2021. PepsiCo plans to promote the new product using multiple marketing channels including shopper marketing (in store), and strong social media.
Anyone hungry for some spicy mac and cheese?
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Poll students: Who eats Cheetos? Who eats Mac and Cheese? Which brands?
- Show the Web site: https://www.cheetos.com/products/cheetos-mac-n-cheese-bold-cheesy
- Show a video of the new product: https://youtu.be/tcYk6tZ3zeI
- Does this new food change the positioning of Cheetos in the product life cycle?
- How does Cheetos Mac and Cheese compare with other companies?
- Build a product positioning map for mac and cheese dinners and show the competition.
- How should Cheetos promote its new product?
Source: Ad Week