Thursday Press Clips – More Pressure on PepsiCo; Consumers Want New Versions of Existing Products

Relevant in the news today include stories about the continuing and mounting pressure on PepsiCo and why consumers love innovation in oft-consumed food and beverages.

Shortly after Nelson Peltz’ Trian Fund acquired 2.36 million shares of PepsiCo, The Financial Times examined the potential for the cola giant to retain outside advisors to help adjust its business and marketing strategies as well as prepare a defense strategy against a corporate shake-up. Peltz, whose stake is worth nearly $150 million, has a reputation as an activist investor and is likely to further pressure PepsiCo to revamp its business and marketing strategies and potentially break the company into separate beverage and snack food units.

In a recent article on, Harry Balzer, the vice president of market research firm The NPD Group, stated that consumers are not only looking for new products on the market, but also seeking out new and improved versions of products that already exist. Speaking at the Private Label Manufacturers Association’s 2011 Private Label Trade Show in Rosemont, Ill., Balzer pointed out that the top two fastest-growing restaurant chains, Five Guys Burgers and Chipotle Mexican Grill, are known for cooking up innovative versions of popular and well-known cuisine. Balzer, who is the author of NPD’s annual “Eating Patterns in America” report, also said that in order to get consumers to change their shopping behavior, manufacturers need to compete on convenience and cost.