Stacked snack Pringles grew to become one of Procter & Gamble's biggest brands with annual sales rising to around $1.45bn by 2011. It was also the company's most global product, distributed in more than 140 countries worldwide. Yet despite its value it had become something of a problem child for the group. By 2010, it was the only food product in P&G's huge portfolio, and its development had long been hampered by the lack of a wide-reaching distribution network, like that available to its arch-rivals Lay's and Ruffles, owned by PepsiCo's Frito-Lay. As a result, Pringles had been considered a prime candidate for sale for several years. An attempt to shift it into a joint venture with Coca-Cola at the end of the 1990s was blocked by shareholders. A subsequent deal was agreed in 2011 to spin the brand off into snack marketer Diamond Foods, but that arrangement too was derailed as a result of a financial scandal at the smaller company. Finally, a new deal was inked in early 2012 with Kellogg's, transforming that company's snacks business, especially in Europe. Pringles is the #2 potato chip brand in almost every global market, sitting behind the local Pepsico products - Lay's in the US and some other markets, Walkers in the UK & Ireland, Smiths in Australia, Sabritas in Mexico and so on. Pringles is Pringles in every global market. It is now the biggest individual brand by value within Kellogg's portfolio with annual sales now around $2bn. Although it only began to take the world by storm during the mid 1990s, the Pringles brand is actually more than 50 years old. Among the vast number of details uncovered by P&G's painstaking research into household buying habits was the fact that American consumers were frustrated by the fact that potato chips were always irregular in size, got broken easily in their soft bags and went stale quickly. The company decided to explore this nugget of data more methodically, and spent the next 10 years tinkering with different sorts of potato chip products. Pringles were first introduced in 1968. The chips were made from reconstituted potato flakes, moulded and fried. Answering those original consumer negatives, they were made to be identical in size and shape, were packed in protective tennis ball tubes, and had a 15-month shelf life. Global roll-out of the brand didn't start until 1990.
Capsule checked 4th November 2019
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