CHICAGO -- Frito-Lay continues to dominate the potato-chip category, especially in convenience stores. Eight of the 20 best-selling chip brands in c-stores during the past year belong to the PepsiCo-owned label, according to data from Chicago-based research firm IRI. And when it came to which brands grew the most during this time frame, the Plano, Texas-based manufacturer took three of the top five spots. Additionally, Frito-Lay controls roughly 60% of today’s U.S. salty-snack retail sales, according to research firm Packaged Facts, Rockville, Md.
But Frito-Lay wasn’t the only chip maker that saw a surge in c-store sales during the past year. Here are the top chip brands with the highest c-store unit-sales increase since August 2017, based on research from IRI …
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1. Lay’s Oven Baked Potato Chips
Annual unit-sales increase: 30.4%
Lay's Oven Baked Potato Chips from Frito-Lay garnered $23 million in total c-store sales, a 30% increase in unit sales from last year—the highest unit-sales increase of any potato chip brand, according to IRI. The better-for-you snack, which contains 65% less fat than regular potato chips, is available in three flavors: Original, Barbecue and Sour Cream & Onion.
2. Zapps Potato Chips
Annual unit-sales increase: 23.6%
Cajun potato-chip brand Zapp's reeled in more than $17 million in total c-store sales over the past year—a nearly 24% increase in c-store unit sales, placing the Gramercy, La.-based label right behind Lay’s Oven Baked in the race for highest unit sales. Zapp’s Chips, which are cooked in peanut oil, come in 14 varieties, including classic flavors such as Salt & Vinegar and Mesquite Bar-B-Q and Southern-inspired ones such as Spicy Cajun Crawtators and Cajun Dill Gator-Tators.
3. Wise Potato Chips
Annual unit-sales increase: 19%
Wise Potato Chips, a division of Berwick, Pa.-based Wise Foods Inc., totaled nearly $13 million in c-store sales over the past year and saw a unit-sales increase of 19%. The potato chip, which was Wise Food’s first product in 1921, is offered in nine varieties: Original, Lightly Salted, Unsalted, Honey BBQ, BBQ, Onion & Garlic, Salt & Vinegar, Red Hot and Honey Butter.
4. Wavy Lay’s Potato Chips
Annual unit-sales increase: 15%
The crispy, ridged member of the Frito-Lay potato-chip family totaled more than $25 million in c-store sales last year, growing 15% in unit sales from August 2017 to land in fourth place. Wavy Lay’s come in six varieties: Hickory BBQ, Lightly Salted, Original, Salt & Vinegar, Sour Cream & Sriracha and Cheddar & Sour Cream.
5. Ruffles Potato Chips
Annual unit-sales increase: 8.7%
Frito-Lay’s Ruffles brand chips round out the top five. The snack, which has been part of Frito-Lay’s lineup since 1961, was the second-highest profiting potato chip brand in c-stores last year—right behind Lay’s Original at No. 1—garnering more than $340 million in sales. In unit sales, the brand saw an increase of nearly 9% (8.7%) compared to last year. Ruffles Potato Chips come in 10 varieties: Original, Queso, Reduced Fat, Sour Cream & Onion, Cheddar & Sour Cream, Jalapeno Ranch, Loaded Bacon & Cheddar, Mozzarella ‘N Marinara, Flamin’ Hot and All Dressed.