Chattanooga Bakery, Frito-Lay

Cashing in on the Eclipse: MoonPie vs. SunChips

March 27, 2024
The Chattanooga Bakery and PepsiCo/Frito-Lay brands are seizing the once-in-20-years marketing opportunity. But where is Eclipse gum?

If you have products named SunChips or MoonPie, the April 8 total solar eclipse is a once-in-20-years marketing opportunity.

Millions of Americans are looking forward to the moon crossing in front of the sun on that date, creating a total solar eclipse clearly visible to 32 million people in the U.S. The path stretches from the St. Lawrence Seaway in a southwesterly arc to the Rio Grande, directly overhead in major cities such as Cleveland, Indianapolis and Dallas.

Those two astronomically named food companies are getting in on the excitement with specialty products. SunChips will bring the heat with a limited-edition pineapple, habanero and black bean spicy gouda chip. MoonPie isn’t launching a new flavor, but the marshmallow sandwich treats will come on special blackout boxes, celebrating “the day the moon wins.”


“The solar eclipse of 2017 was massive for us, but we knew we had to go even bigger this time,” said Tory Johnston, vice president of sales and marketing at MoonPie maker Chattanooga Bakery Inc. in Tennessee. “It’s the day the moon wins, and the sun goes down! So, we wanted to make something that got people as excited about the eclipse as we are.”

SunChips is taking a less combative approach to its marketing, celebrating a celestial event instead of acknowledging the moon’s triumph over its heavenly rival. The Frito-Lay brand partnered with author, researcher and astronaut Kellie Gerardi to develop the eclipse-flavored spicy chips.

“SunChips draws inspiration from the sun so there's no better moment to spotlight this snack than during the extraordinary solar eclipse,” said Rhasheda Boyd, vice president of marketing at Frito-Lay. SunChips won’t be selling the chips – they’ll be giving them away for 4 minutes and 27 seconds, the length of totality when the moon fully blocks the sun, starting at 2:33 p.m. ET.

Gerardi added, “Total solar eclipses are rare and special events, and I hope people can take a moment out of their busy lives to pause and enjoy the incredible sight.”

By the way, this news story actually comes from our sister brand IndustryWeek, part of its recurring “So That Happened” column. See the full column here (requires registration).

About the Author

Dave Fusaro | Editor in Chief

Dave Fusaro has served as editor in chief of Food Processing magazine since 2003. Dave has 30 years experience in food & beverage industry journalism and has won several national ASBPE writing awards for his Food Processing stories. Dave has been interviewed on CNN, quoted in national newspapers and he authored a 200-page market research report on the milk industry. Formerly an award-winning newspaper reporter who specialized in business writing, he holds a BA in journalism from Marquette University. Prior to joining Food Processing, Dave was Editor-In-Chief of Dairy Foods and was Managing Editor of Prepared Foods.

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