Shopper Insights

From Hot Challenge to Hot Mess

Paqui troubles compound after a steady decline.

The Insight

Paqui chips have sizzled their way into the snacking scene, thanks in part to their fiery "One Chip Challenge". The viral phenomenon met a tragic end earlier this month, when a teenager's death was reportedly linked to one of these chips, prompting the company to pull the product from shelves.

Even before this crisis, Paqui had consistently lagged behind competitors like Takis and Zapp's in organic star ratings. As seen above, Paqui's ratings have plummeted by 21% since 2022.

So what drove this dramatic decline in consumer sentiment?

Consumers have begun to cool off on the Flavor & Taste of Paqui’s chips, with related reviews falling from a high of 4.23 stars in 2021 to 3.50 stars so far in 2023. Specifically, reviewers mention that some products have an off-putting taste and that the dry powder used to add heat leaves the chips without a distinct flavor.

Consumers are also unhappy with the frequent Packaging & Fulfillment issues. 13% of Paqui consumer reviews mention receiving expired or stale chips or finding their recently ordered chips crushed within the box. These issues have contributed to a paltry 2.43 average star rating given by consumers who mention how they feel about Paqui's perceived Price/Value.

The Takeaway

While the tragedy surrounding the "One Chip Challenge" couldn't have been anticipated, the decline in the brand’s performance due to issues with flavor and packaging could have been.

Brands can leverage viral marketing to gain billions of views, likes and impressions, boosting trial of their product. However, to retain those customers they must stand out as the “best tasting”, “most effective”, “most convenient” etc. within their competitor set.

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