How would you characterize the dip category in general?
Dips are a complementary product; they are served along with chips, crackers, or raw vegetables. The market for dips is highly fragmented and difficult to measure. More than 80% of all dips are accounted for by supermarkets, with a total dip retail dollar sales volume of $620 million (in 1985).
The dip category became more popular in late 1983 and early 1984, an explanation for this increase is the growing popularity of Mexican food, including nachos, which stimulated the trial and acceptance of Mexican-style dips. Even though the market for dips is large, it is estimated that about 20% of all dip volume consumed by households in the U.S. is homemade. Also many consumers use refrigerated salad dressings for dips, especially for vegetables, which can be considered the main dip substitute.
How might the dip category be segmented?
The main segments in the dip market are the "chip dip" category and the "vegetable dip" category. The total dip market is divided in two product types, segmented on its usage; prepared dips (2/3 of total) and dip mixes for at-home preparation (1/3 of total). More than half of the prepared dips sold in supermarkets require refrigeration, and the remaining 45% are "shelf-stable", which means that they are packaged in metal cans, don't require refrigeration and can be placed anywhere in the supermarket. Dips are segmented in four different flavor categories: sour cream-based dips (50%); cheese-based dips (25%); bean and picante dips (10%); and cream cheese-based dips (15%).
What is Frito-Lay's competitive position within the segments it pursues?
Frito-Lay is the major competitor in shelf-stable dips; with a total market share of 21.77%. They carry a highly profitable product line and had phenomenal sales growth between 1981($30M) and 1985 ($87M). In the last two years (1984 and 1985) however, competitive activity accelerated; well-financed...