PeaTos launches DTC website: 'The fight for snack share just headed online'

By Mary Ellen Shoup

- Last updated on GMT

PeaTos launches DTC business: 'The fight for snack share just headed online'

Related tags Snacks Peatos snacking

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused brands to look at their direct-to-consumer (DTC) businesses with fresh eyes, including emerging brand PeaTos, which launched its own DTC site, BetterSnacks.com, to fulfill Americans' at-home snacking needs and desire for "comfort and nostalgia."

Over the past two months as Americans shifted to an at-home lifestyle, PeaTos saw massive growth online with its PeaTos Variety Pack, according to founder and CEO Nick Desai.

"As the world battles an unprecedented pandemic that is keeping people at home, the fight for snack share just headed online," ​said Desai.

The DTC website launch comes just a week after PepsiCo and Frito Lay launched its two new DTC websites​, PantryShop.com and Snacks.com.

PeaTos, which has always been available to consumers online through its company website and Amazon, said BetterSnacks.com is essentially a transformation of its regular website into a storefront that makes buying PeaTos snacks a smoother process.

"Before, e-commerce was a small part of our business and we were doing it mainly through Amazon," ​Desai told FoodNavigator-USA, adding that he expects e-commerce to represent roughly a third of its sales. Online sales for the PeaTos brand tripled in the month of April, and Desai expects the same level of demand to continue for some time.

BetterSnacks.com will feature PeaTos entire product range, including bestsellers, Classic and Fiery Hot Curls, and new products including Classic Onion and Fiery Onion Rings. 

Somewhere down the line, Desai said the company would like to partner with other non-competitive better-for-you snacks products to bundle with PeaTos products.

Quarantine snacking

According to Desai, while snacking during the COVID-19 pandemic has taken off, the entire category hasn't benefited from the trend of at-home eating.

"There’s been a flight back to comfort and familiar. I think all these nutrition-first brands are going to struggle a bit more," ​said Desai. 

In addition, the on-the-go snacking trend has taken a back seat to larger pack sizes as consumers have adjusted their routines to staying at-home. For example, a recent report by Bernstein reported negative growth​ in most snack and nutritional bar segments.

"We’re an alternative to America’s favorite comfort food. It is helping us, but I think it is not helping some of the other emerging brands," ​he added.

Challenging the contender

PeaTos launched in 2018 with its pea protein cheese puffs looking to disrupt the $20bn salty snack market largely dominated by Frito-Lay and its brands, including Cheetos and Doritos. 

PeaTos received a cease and desist letter that same year -- which was later settled​ ​-- from Frito-Lay that argued the new brand was "confusingly similar" to its Cheetos brand. PeaTos updated its packaging last year and launched several new SKUs to expand its 'better junk food' portfolio.

However, the brand hasn't given up on its mission to challenge "the best in the business," ​said Desai.

"There’s too many companies trying to play on their fringes. It’s time to challenge the contender. When you challenge an institution, of course you’re exposing yourself, but make no mistake, every emerging brand is exposing themselves every day," ​Desai said.

"We were always junk food first...we’re just 'better' junk food (PeaTos contain no artificial ingredients, 4g of protein, and 3g of fiber per serving)," ​he said.

"It’s no secret that we’re following a strategy that was set up by Frito Lay and we’re trying to best them at their own game."

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