Profile: The Business of Breakfast

Article excerpt

Patrick Kalotis, group marketing director, PepsiCo, is serious about his healthy brands portfolio.

Whether it is down to his Hellenic heritage, or a love of the products he works on, it's clear from the start of Marketing's interview with Patrick Kalotis that he is a passionate marketer.

Indeed, the half-Greek, half-Irish marketing director for PepsiCo's range of healthy brands, including Tropicana and Quaker, is a self-styled 'Mr Breakfast'.

'It would be difficult for me to work on a product I don't associate with,' he says. 'I've got to the point that if I don't have a glass of Tropicana and a bowl of porridge in the morning, I think: 'Oh I'm so hungry.''

Kalotis, who grew up in Greece and moved to the UK when he was 18, has the slightest of Mediterranean accents, betrayed in the way he pronounces the vowel 'o' in 'so', when emphasising the depth of his hunger.

Strategy shift

Kalotis took on his current role in May 2010 and his enthusiasm for his brands is evident as he talks about the reasons for shifting Tropicana's ad strategy this summer. The idea behind the brand's ad positioning - to focus on the provenance of the juice and the 'life story' of the oranges from which it is made - stemmed from a trip to the orange groves of Brazil.

PepsiCo has its own groves, where the orange trees are planted and then cultivated for six years, until they are ready for the fruit to be harvested. Kalotis uses evocative language to describe his experience there, likening the strong smell of the fresh oranges to 'walking in a perfumery'. He learned how the farmers work, and has fed all this into the brand's latest marketing, from ads to sampling activity.

'Our ads in July were all about the passion and the craftsmanship that goes into our orange juice, and that reinforces the quality and the taste,' explains Kalotis.

This 'Mr Breakfast' moniker comes from his responsibility for two of the UK's biggest morning brands - not to mention research he recently undertook to observe breakfast-eating habits of 33,000 UK consumers However, Kalotis' remit also includes Oat So Simple porridge, Copella apple juice, Naked smoothies, which launched in the UK in 2007, and rice-cake brand Snack-A-Jacks.

Leading a portfolio of breakfast and healthy products, you would think Kalotis is a key part of PepsiCo's Health Report - its global strategy launched in 2010 to make its brands healthier, including cutting fat, sugar and salt by 25% across the global portfolio. However, he is uncharacteristically reticent on the subject, saying it is not part of his remit and it 'falls to the corporate side of the business'.

His healthy portfolio does allow for the natural step into the cross-promotion of brands, referred to in-house at PepsiCo as 'the breakfast deal' - something on which he intends to focus more. This is made easier by the similarity of a typical Quaker and Tropicana consumer, who is 25 to 40 years old and happy to spend slightly more for a premium product.

According to PepsiCo the Tropicana flavour blends portfolio, branded 'Orange Creations' on cartons, appears 'more interesting' to younger consumers, and in the past year sales grew by 20%, according to Nielsen.

'If the Tropicana juice (on offer) happens to be orange and passion fruit, then you're appealing to a different demographic, which allows us to bring new cohorts into the business, and that's really important for porridge,' says Kalotis.

He has been working to overcome the 'outdated' consumer perception of porridge - that it is a hassle to make and tastes bland - through a series of product designs and flavours. A decade ago, Kalotis explains, porridge was associated with an older demographic, and thought of as a 'traditional breakfast'. …