Illustration for article titled PepsiCo takes online grocery shopping into its own hands
Photo: David Allio/Icon Sportswire (Getty Images)

How have your local businesses been dealing with in-store shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic? Most of mine have been taking orders over the phone, payment too, then I pick up my goodies at the door. As none of them have their stocked products listed online, I have to ask, “Do you have any of the good canned tuna left?” or, “I’m looking for any dry vermouth,” forcing the workers to scramble across the store to fetch my fishy, boozy cravings. Most businesses lack the bandwidth and extra cash to build out websites, let alone sites that stay updated on their stock on a daily basis. So if they want to sell online, they’re stuck doing so through sites like Amazon, who take a cut of their profit. But PepsiCo is not most businesses. The snack and soda giant indeed has the money to build out two entire websites dedicated to purchasing and delivering its products, and only its products: snacks.com and pantryshop.com.

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Illustration for article titled PepsiCo takes online grocery shopping into its own hands
Image: PepsiCo

Snacks.com is literally just a website where you order Frito-Lay chips, and a place where you realize that Frito-Lay owns basically all the chips. Cheetos, Doritos, Funyuns, Sun Chips, and Ruffles are all on the menu. I can’t believe such a gorgeous domain name has gone so underutilized until now, but internet sleuthing shows it’s long been owned by Frito-Lay—a decade ago, it was a corporate blog called Snack Chat. Its current use is a vast improvement.

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Pantryshop.com is a little different. It sells and delivers what it’s calling Pantry Kits, or combinations of different PepsiCo products, each one loosely adhering to some sort of theme. For example, the “workout and recovery” kit consists of Propel, Muscle Milk, and Gatorade protein bars. The family-size “rise and shine” kit has Quaker Oatmeal Squares, Life cereal, various Tropicana juices, and Aunt Jemima pancakes. This seems particularly useful for families with little ones, or single adults who really, really love Quaker products.

This investment indicates PepsiCo might suspect the future of grocery shopping is online. According to the CNN report, online food sales were up 66% at the beginning of May, compared to that same time in 2019. If that’s the case, I bet we’ll be seeing more corporations attempt to escape Amazon’s clutches by launching their own sites, too.

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