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04/12/2022

Q&A: Food Lion's one-of-a-kind Pepsi product

A recent partnership between Food Lion and Pepsi has landed a unique soda flavor exclusively on the retailer's shelves, potentially changing how grocers stand out from the pack with their inventory.
Zachary Russell
Associate Editor
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In late 2021, North Carolina-based grocery retailer Food Lion announced a partnership with Pepsi to give customers a unique offering in the beverage aisle. Food Lion wanted to work with the soft drink giant to create a soda to sell exclusively at its 1,100+ locations in the mid-atlantic and southeastern regions.

The creation was Mountain Dew Uproar, named with Food Lion’s mascot Leo the Lion in mind. The strawberry-kiwi flavor of Mountain Dew will be available exclusively in Food Lion stores until 2023. Food Lion beverage category manager Kevin Pruitt says sales of Uproar are already exceeding expectations, adding that continued strong performance from the beverage could lead to more exclusive flavors with Pepsi.

Pruitt has been with the company for 22 years, and has 35 years of experience in the grocery industry, including 27 years in category management. Store Brands spoke with Pruitt about the exclusive beverage partnership and how it’s changing the retailer’s beverage category.

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Kevin Pruitt headshot
Kevin Pruitt, beverage category manager, Food Lion
STORE BRANDS: What was the state of Food Lion's exclusive collection prior to the Pepsi partnership?

 

KEVIN PRUITT: This is a first for Food Lion in the beverage category, but we have been interested in an exclusive offering like this for some time in the category. We have partnered with several other suppliers on limited-release offerings, specifically in the beer category, and our customers have responded well.

SB: How did the partnership come about?
 

KP: Mountain Dew has been a longtime partner of ours and a very popular item at many Food Lion stores. Through our partnership, we wanted to bring something unique and personal to our loyal customers by developing a limited-edition flavor, exclusively sold at Food Lion stores. Our goal from the beginning was to offer our neighbors a new and exciting choice in the drink aisle and in the cooler. Mountain Dew is a popular product with Food Lion customers, so we thought it was a great place to start.

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Mountain Dew Uproar
SB: How was the flavor developed?


KP: We worked with Mountain Dew’s insights, research and development teams to determine which flavors best resonated with the Food Lion and Mountain Dew consumer. We narrowed down a few flavors that looked like they’d resonate well based on the consumer data. After further testing, the Strawberry-Kiwi flavor profile in Mountain Dew Uproar was the clear winner and a perfect fit for our customers. It was a fun process developing something truly unique.

SB: What has the reception been like with customers?

 

KP: Many of our customers are big fans of Mountain Dew, and they’ve appreciated that Uproar is a unique opportunity to experience something different. We’re always looking to offer products our customers want, and it’s important to us that our customers know we are listening to their needs and offering items they want.

SB: Are any more exclusives with Pepsi in the works?

 

KP: I can’t share any specific details at this moment, but we’re always looking to offer products and services that resonate with our customers.

SB: What makes a great retailer-exclusive product?

 

KP: Products that our customers love and can’t do without! Exclusive offerings are a unique and different way to show our appreciation for our customers and offer an experience they can’t get anywhere else. It all comes back to listening to our customers, understanding what they’re looking for and then working with our supplier partners to try and offer it.