Michelle R McGuire
Brand Strategist


Segmentation Study


Do You Want the Short Version?

The Problem: How can Frito-Lay continue to dominate the chip category?  

The Process: Segment the chip market

The Solution: Frito-Lay should speak to all five distinct segments (Comfort Seekers, Flavor Adventurers, Chip Skeptics, Texture Cravers, and Socialite Chippers) through specific recommendations

Frito Lay Logo.png

Or the Long Version?


Frito-Lay is THE chip giant of the chip category. Frito-Lay (owned by PepsiCo) controls nearly nearly two thirds of the category with sales more than ten times greater than the second-largest competitor. However, Frito-Lay shouldn’t get comfortable. Trends such as premiumization, a larger emphasis on health, and an increase in private label sales are on the rise. Segmentation will ensure Frito-Lay has their finger on the pulse of chip consumers so they can stay on top.


  • Man-on-the street interviews

  • 1×1 interviews

  • Secondary research (Mintel, IBISWorld, etc.)

  • Segmentation survey (behavioral, values-based questions with agree/disagree Likert scale questions)


The five chip segments we found are:

Comfort Seekers.png
Flavor Adventurers.png
Chip Skeptics
Texture Cravers
Socialite Chipper.png

Recommendation #1: Up the Crunch!

Release an extra-crunchy version of the classics people love to target the Texture Cravers

  • Offer extra crunchy Doritos, Ruffles, and Lays

  • Similar to the Ruffles Mega Crunch found in the Mexican market, but using classic flavors

Recommendation #2: Embrace Comfort

Launch a campaign that embraces couch-sitting, comfort-seeking indulgence for the Comfort Seekers

  • Target media buy to viewing platforms that enable binge-watching, such as Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube, and ESPN+

  • Consider spokespeople to portray unexpected comfort eaters 

Recommendation #3: Travel with Flavors


Travel with Lay’s matched to the seasons to speak to the Flavor Adventurers

  • Salted Cucumber from Russia in the summer

  • Baked Chicken with Thyme from Romania in the fall

  • Winter Onion from Poland in the winter 

  • Green Tea from China in the spring

Recommendation #4: Refresh Healthy Offerings

Innovate new products to appeal to a wider range of health-conscious consumers to get those Chip Skeptics

  • Expand Simply line to include different cooking oils for dietary preferences and restrictions

  • Expand dip offerings to include healthy, fresher options like hummus and veggie dips

  • Rebrand Baked as lower calorie chips versus low fat

Recommendation #5: Appeal to Gourmet Connoisseurs

Buy small scale gourmet brands like Route 11 to attract Chip Socialites

  • Similar to how big beer companies are acquiring local breweries

  • Maintain independent branding, messaging, etc.

  • Captures a different type of chip consumer 

Reflection Time


I enjoyed this project because it was the perfect fusion of data and storytelling. This segmentation study was one of the most challenging (and rewarding) projects I’ve worked on to date!

My Role

  • Completed in-store research, 1-on-1 interviews, and secondary research

  • Cross-tabulated, cross-tabulated, and cross-tabulated some more in Qualtrics to find the market segments

  • Collaborated with teammates to develop and present a deck on our findings and recommendations

Fun Fact

You can buy blueberry Lay’s in China.

Team Members

Aaron Lee (Strategist), Madison McCracken (Strategist), and Bonni Dinerstein (Strategist)