With the completion of the Pringles divestiture to the Kellogg Company, we take a moment to reflect on the legacy of this true P&G Original. For more than 40 years, Pringles has delighted consumers with its one-of-a kind fun shape, flavor, crunch and unique texture. This iconic brand is loved by consumers around the world with sales in more than 140 countries and packaging produced in 37 languages.
The brand has had an amazing journey with P&G.
A Chip that Almost Wasn’t
In the mid-1950s, Americans were consuming $350 million worth of potato chips a year, mostly made by regional snack companies. Consumers complained these chips were too greasy, went stale too quickly, and had too many broken pieces at the bottom of the bags.
At the time, P&G’s food business accounted for 25 percent of the Company’s net sales, and P&G was the world’s largest producer of frying oils to the potato chip industry. Because our researchers fried chips all the time to test new oils, it only made sense we could develop our own perfect chip!
Innovative P&Gers wanted to develop a uniform size, texture, taste and packaging that protected the chips from breaking…with longer freshness and shelf life. This early work identified the saddle shape and the cylindrical can, but unfortunately, getting the right formulation and taste proved difficult. The project was suspended in 1958.
Try, Try Again
Fast-forward to the mid-1960s. P&G was on the hunt for new products, and the chip concept was still viable. Researchers developed a new dough-making process that resulted in chips that fried well and tasted great! After a successful test market in 1968, the "newfangled" potato chip made by P&G hit the market. Pringles were an overnight sensation! Pringles captured market share, and roll-out across the United States began in 1971.
Surviving Tough Times
Just after the national introduction concluded in 1975, sales began to fall. The brand struggled to win against competitors’ products. Additionally, a tough economic climate caused consumers to be more conservative in their spending habits. Product innovations, such as new size options, rippled and country style chips, did little to slow the decline. But this resilient brand would survive.
Fever for the Flavor
The turning point came in 1980. The economy improved and, with help from consumers, the team improved the taste and introduced flavored chips to the market. Our “Fever for the Flavor” advertising won the hearts and minds of snacks lovers, and sales began to climb.
Once You Pop...
As Pringles surged in the U.S., Pringles focused on new international markets in Europe, Latin America and Asia. The global launch was so successful that Pringles built its first overseas plant in Belgium in 1995.
That international expansion also brought with it interesting new flavors. In Asia you might see Seaweed, Crab, Bangkok Grilled Chicken, Indonesia Satay, Hongkong Fish Ball, Hazelnut and Blueberry, Lemon and Sesame, Grilled Shrimp, Mustard Mayo Potato or Sour and Butter. Further west in Europe you might find Paprika, Prawn Cocktail, Bacon, Jamon/Ham, Rosemary and Olive Oil, Ketchup, Bolognese, Gourmet Beef Burger, Sausage and Crispy Bacon or Roast Turkey.
Today, Pringles is an established market leader, having grown share and sales globally with strong commercial and product innovations, including lower calories and fat, snack size servings, multi-grain formulas and flavors that have regional appeal.
A New Chapter for a P&G Classic
Kellogg is a great new home for Pringles. It will become Kellogg’s second largest global brand behind Special K and make Kellogg the number two player in the global savory snacks category. We wish them every success for the future.