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Quaker Tropicana Breakfast Positioning Strategy Case Study

In-Home Breakfast Growing While Off-Premise Declines

In-home breakfasts are growing, driven by changes in consumer behavior in 2020. Meanwhile, fast food chains have reported severe decreases in breakfast visitors.

With growth in in-home breakfast, many breakfast brands sold in grocery and mass merchandisers have experienced sales increases. CPG (consumer packaged goods) companies like Pepsi, Kellogg’s and General Mills have large breakfast portfolios, made up of multiple brands in multiple categories.

Positioning Together Gave PepsiCo’s Breakfast Brands a Boost

PepsiCo owns leading brands in refrigerated orange juice (Tropicana), hot cereal (Quaker), along with others (Life, Cap’n Crunch and other Quaker RTE (ready to eat) cereals, Naked juice, Quaker baked squares/bars/etc.). Accordingly, PepsiCo has looked for opportunities to leverage the combined strength of the Quaker and Tropicana brands.

Quaker Tropicana Breakfast Positioning Strategy Case Study

Combined Positioning Strategy Challenge

Since Quaker and Tropicana are the two most powerful assets in Pepsi’s breakfast portfolio, the challenge was to identify a compelling positioning approach that would help increase loyalty to these brands among consumers and increase share, support or space at retail.

This historical positioning case example illustrates how a compelling positioning can be created to use with consumers in communications. The Quaker/Tropicana breakfast positioning platform was applied across promotional/in-store, advertising and on package.

Selecting Consumer Targets: CPG Positioning for the Right Breakfast Lovers

The first step in the process was to identify the relevant consumer targets with sufficiently-aligned motivations. The primary segments initially explored were Healthy Breakfast Believers, Hectic Nutrition Minders and Morning Sustainers, and Permissive Variety Seekers. Each of these segments believe breakfast is important.

Lest the reader assume that everyone thinks breakfast is important, be assured that is not the case. There is a large segment who skips breakfast, which we call the Breakfast Skippers. Needless to say, Breakfast Skippers are not a target.

After the first round of qualitative consumer IDIs (in-depth interviews), the team elected to focus on two groups for the ten positioning optimization mini focus groups: Healthy Breakfast Believers and Permissive Variety Seekers.

Quaker Tropicana Breakfast Positioning Strategy Case Study

Breakfast Sets the Tone for the Rest of the Morning…and for Some, the Entire Day

For these consumers, breakfast is an important indicator for the rest of the morning, and for some, the entire day. For many, breakfast helps them to “fully” wake up and become mentally alert for the day.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Breakfast

For those consumers who value breakfast, a “good” breakfast suggests that the morning will be good or great and that it is under control. A “great” breakfast suggests that the morning will be great. A “not so good” breakfast means the day is already out of control and will be chaotic. 

In general, a “good” breakfast has more items and, at minimum, a food and a beverage. While bigger is better, “huge” breakfasts are unrealistic and undesirable every day. “Great” breakfasts are often reserved for weekends or vacations and accompanied by hedonic hot foods like pancakes, waffles and bacon.

Quaker/Tropicana operates in the “good breakfast” category, which is balanced and has more than one component.

Positioning Strategy Options Tested Against Five Areas

Twenty-nine positioning strategy ideas were tested with the target customers. These ideas came from five starting areas:

  • Taste/taste experience
  • Health plus
  • Satisfaction
  • Preparation for the day/empowerment
  • Caring/breakfast experience

The Winning Positioning Strategy

After ten rounds of optimization, the recommended positioning emerged as a clear winner, with both rational and emotional benefits. The main idea of a power start was communicated through the headline: Quaker/Tropicana Breakfast: Healthy Breakfast Choices that Power Start Your Day.

Rational Benefits

There were two driving rational benefits.

  • The first was “more healthy breakfast choices.” Consumers were engaged by the options that Quaker and Tropicana offer, which are greater than they originally believed. The combinations of choices (food and beverages) created new breakfasts rather than just new individual products.
  • The second rational benefit area was “quick energy to get you going and lasting energy to keep you going.” Consumers want both a quick energy boost to start functioning and lasting energy to keep going. Together, this created the “power start.”

Emotional Benefit

The emotional benefit area was “empowered to be at my best.” These consumers recognize that when they feel full of energy, they can get more done and approach their day from a strong “charged up” emotional position. They feel at their best and ready to go, so they expect to accomplish more and to engage and interact with others more successfully.

Reasons to Believe

The two primary reasons to believe support the two rational benefit areas.

  • The first is taste variety- a wide range of healthy breakfast choices from brands I trust.
  • The second is the power-packed nutrition of whole grain oats, fresh fruit and vitamins and minerals, like calcium.

Positioning Strategy Statement…Optimized with Target Consumers 


You need energy in the morning. And the few minutes it takes to get a wholesome Quaker/Tropicana breakfast in you pays off.

Quaker and Tropicana give you a breakfast that’s power-packed with the nutrition of whole grain oats, fresh fruit, and vitamins and minerals, like calcium. Together, fresh-tasting Tropicana fruit juices and satisfying Quaker oats can provide the quick energy to get you going. And the lasting energy to keep you going.

And you have your choice of everything from classic Tropicana Orange juice and a warm bowl of Quaker Peaches and Cream oatmeal…to Ruby Red Grapefruit juice and crispy Life Cereal…to a Tropicana Smoothie and a Quaker Breakfast Square. So whatever combination you choose, it’s sure to taste great.

Quaker and Tropicana give you a powerful start to your day.

Positioning Framework Summary

As previously reviewed, the strategy is summarized in the positioning framework.

  • To (target): Healthy Breakfast Believers and Permissive Variety Seekers,
  • (brand) Quaker/Tropicana is the
  • (frame of reference) breakfast that
  • (point of difference) power starts your day with healthy breakfast choices
  • because (reason to believe): it’s power packed with whole grain oats, fresh fruit and vitamins and minerals like calcium and it delivers taste variety with a wide range of breakfast choices from brands I trust

The strategy was adopted and enacted in market. Later, the related foundational consumer insights were directly expressed in the $100 million Go Humans Go advertising campaign for the Quaker brand, which suggested “Start your day with the supergrain power of Quaker oats.”

See how the positioning experts at Insight to Action can build your positioning strategy. Contact us today.