Are Snacks the Real Pepsi Challenge to Coke’s Soda Dominance?

3 min read
Author: Dave Van Everen
Coke vs. Pepsi

The Coca-Cola Company has a slight edge over its top rival in driving brand affinity across sparkling soft drinks and water beverages in shopping aisles, according to data from grocery receipts. But Coke buyers are loading up their shopping carts with PepsiCo’s snack food brands, and also favoring Pepsi’s Gatorade over Coke’s Powerade.

This latest installment of Veryfi Insights analyzes data spanning more than 20 U.S. grocers to examine brand affinities and relationships impacting two of the world’s iconic consumer product goods (CPG) companies and highlighting potential opportunities for brand family promotions.

Among the findings: grocery shoppers nearly always include water in their baskets–that’s the first additional purchase that Coke buyers reach for, followed by other Coke-brand sodas and the affiliated Sprite brand.

But when buyers of Pepsi soda are shopping, their top additional purchases are Coke-brand drinks! Most likely, decisions to buy competing soda brands reflect different preferences within consumers’ families.

Coke buyers appear more loyal to the brand, as Pepsi is only the #11th-ranked product in their baskets. But PepsiCo’s wide array of snack foods prominently show up in Coke-buyer carts:

Coca-Cola Buyers’ BasketsPepsi Buyers’ Baskets
PepsiCo snack brandRankPepsiCo snack brandRank

Coca-Cola Co. fashions itself as a “total beverage company” and doesn’t offer convenience foods, but shouldn’t it pursue opportunities to link up with other snack providers to cut into PepsiCo’s share of wallet? Conversely, should PepsiCo more aggressively promote cola sales to buyers of its potato chips, tortilla chips, and corn puffs products?

Other intriguing nuggets to ponder: Why do Coke buyers favor Tostitos over Doritos, while Pepsi drinkers go the other way? Is Coca-Cola Co. overlooking potential sales to buyers of Ruffles and Cheetos?

If only those shopping carts could talk! Well, in a manner of speaking, they do. Receipts provide direct insight into what’s happening in the grocery aisle.

Missed Opportunities

CPG companies need to drive growth, and promotion across a family of brands represents low-hanging fruit. But, those companies lack instant access to cross-basket data. According to McKinsey, “While broad reach, powerful, resonant storytelling, and creativity remain critical, marketers now need to utilize data and analytics at scale to crack the code that enables more targeted and engaging interactions to shape consumer behavior.”

In the battle for branded water, Coke buyers prefer Coca-Cola Company’s Dasani (#35) more than PepsiCo’s Aquafina (#46). Pepsi buyers, on the other hand, opt for Aquafina (#39) over Dasani (#44). Obviously there is some brand-affinity at play here, even though there is little evidence the CPG companies overtly promote a soda and water tie-in.

Most importantly, the popularity of PepsiCo snack brands would seem an obvious opportunity to cross-promote Pepsi-family sodas and Aquafina water to shoppers purchasing those snacks. From the Coca-Cola Company perspective, greater cross-promotion of its Powerade brand might be fruitful to wrest away some of Coke buyer preference for PepsiCo’s Gatorade.

Veryfi Insights draws on data collected in the aggregate from millions of receipts extracted by the Veryfi OCR API Platform to offer an unprecedented real-world view into shopping trends.

Using advanced AI/ML technology, pre-trained by hundreds of millions of documents over the past five years, Veryfi extracts line item data from more than 110 defined fields including product name, SKU, and description, and transforms it into a structured format.

As CPG companies develop loyalty apps to strengthen customer relationships, receipts hold the potential to gain zero-party data directly from consumers, which can provide brand owners and campaign managers with near real-time insights into buyer purchasing decisions and the potential for more targeted marketing opportunities. It also offers the potential for instant offers and rewards based on cross-basket data analysis.

Veryfi makes scanning receipts effortless. As consumers scan their receipts to earn rewards, line item receipt details can reveal unexpected relationships between products, retailers, regions, or times of day. For multi-brand CPG companies that can seldom connect the dots in grocery aisles, receipt data represents a rich new asset for developing brand-family cross-promotions.

To learn more about turning receipts into consumer insights, download our “What is the Value of a Receipt?” infographic:

Download Infographic