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Leading Through Change

How Frito-Lay Worked Its Way Into 94% of U.S. Households

Chief Growth Officer, PepsiCo Foods North America, Michael Lindsey, shares the secret behind snacking in the COVID age.

Michael Lindsey for Frito Lay

How many companies can say that their products are in nearly all U.S. households? Frito-Lay’s savory, crunchy snacks, found on shelves everywhere and direct-to-consumer (D2C) at, can make this claim (to precisely 94% of homes in America). Chief Growth Officer, PepsiCo Foods North America, Michael Lindsey, told us data is everything. Not only does Frito-Lay buy essential third-party data that track consumer habits, but its employees also visit 500,000 retail locations each week to speak to store owners, see who’s walking in, and track what’s selling. We also hear from Cortney Knoll, vice president of IBM Garage, a partner with Frito-Lay to help them to build a loyal, snack-obsessed clientele. She mirrors Lindsey’s trust in data and said, “We’re using the power of data and consumer insights to de-risk innovation and to de-risk transformation.”

If you’ve watched Lindsey in Leading Through Change, or even if you haven’t, here are some fun facts on him, Frito-Lay, and how they use Salesforce for success.

Chief Growth Officer, PepsiCo Foods North America, Michael Lindsey on Leading Through Change

Facts about Michael Lindsey

  • Lindsey holds a BA in Computer Science and Economics from Rice University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
  • His son was born in Dubai, where he lived for three years while running strategy and transformation across Asia and Africa for PepsiCo.
  • While living in the Greater China Region as Frito-Lay’s SVP and GM of Nutrition Category and Commercialization, Lindsey’s children learned to snack on seaweed.

Facts about Frito-Lay North America

  • Frito-Lay has 25,000 front-line employees that make 500,000 weekly service calls across 315,000 customers every week. In total, they have 60,000 employees across North America.
  • Lindsey reports that they have one of the largest private fleets in North America. “We have more trucks up and down the street than UPS or FedEx.”
  • Frito-Lay North America has more than 30 manufacturing facilities across the U.S. and Canada and processes more than 40 billion potatoes per year.

Salesforce tools used by Frito-Lay

  • Products used: Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Field Service Lightning
  •, Frito-Lay’s Snacks to You web presence built using Commerce Cloud, has always allowed small businesses such as convenience stores and food trucks to order Frito-Lay snack deliveries online – a departure from wholesale goods sold via distributor. Retailers can also access product suggestions via artificial intelligence (AI) based on previous sales, geography, and segment.
  • Under COVID, Frito-Lay launched to include direct-to-consumer (D2C) sales, so you can order Cheetos, Doritos, Fritos, and the gang direct from the source.
  • Sales Hub, powered by Service Cloud, unites the back office with the sales team, route drivers, merchandisers, etc. And even while working from loading docks or other areas without a solid internet connection, employees can still place orders, check inventory, and more on their mobile device. 
  • Frito-Lay relies heavily upon its 25,000 sales workforce to talk to retailers about inventory, and gather critical on-site information about product sales and product positioning at each location.
  • Field Service Lightning ensures that each of the drivers’ routes are appropriately serviced. These tools help to create a fluid communication channel between sales and delivery out in the field and dispatch. And it gives drivers and merchandisers the ability to quickly adapt and redirect resources when issues arise.

This post is the latest installment of Leading Through Change, our video conversation series with industry and thought leaders who use Salesforce products to transform the way they work. 

This episode was powered by IBM – a Salesforce strategic partner – who combines experiences across every Salesforce product and confidently redesigns business from the inside out. COVID-19 has accelerated the pace of digital transformation globally. To find out how the best companies use Salesforce to adapt, pivot, and design more resilient businesses, read The State of Salesforce 2020-21: Special Edition.

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