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Old El Paso pockets a win

January 2021

This is a self-funded case study using our Innovation Testing solution.

Mexican cuisine is fun, delicious, and easy – and a weekly ritual for many households. However, it’s also notoriously messy – particularly with kids involved – which can limit its perceived suitability for a wider range of occasions (and act as a barrier for new users).

Old El Paso set about solving this problem, with the brand’s latest launch – Tortilla Pockets – a seamless extension of its ‘Mexican-made-easy’ positioning. How did consumers of Mexican food at home react to the idea? We used our three C’s framework to assess the in-market potential of Tortilla Pockets:

  • Captivate: Does it stand out and elicit a positive emotional response?
  • Connect: Is the brand instantly recognizable?
  • Compel: Does it pre-dispose people toward purchase?


People were enamored with the idea of a sealed-bottom tortilla wrap, leaving many wondering why nobody’d thought of doing it before. Even considering its long history of innovation, Old El Paso’s new twist on the classic tortilla wrap was still considered unique and distinctive.


Being the leader of the at-home Mexican food category meant Tortilla Pockets synergized with people’s expectations of Old El Paso. Despite coming in a semi-transparent pack (uncommon, but not entirely unheard of for Old El Paso), people still recognized the distinctive yellow ‘wall’ and red ‘roof’– enabling easy on-shelf recognition.


The reduced spillage/mess of Tortilla Pockets made Mexican-food-at-home seem easier and less of a hassle, with the product considered especially suitable for families with children. Solving a significant barrier to consumption/more frequent consumption meant there was extremely little outright rejection, with perceived value for money also very high.


Innovation in the grocery sector which truly addresses a consumer need is extremely rare – but something Old El Paso’s newly-launched Tortilla Pockets definitely tick the box on. Even for a brand which has a stranglehold on the Mexican section of the World Foods aisle, Tortilla Pockets still captivated shoppers – prompting current users to think about new occasions, and giving non-users a compelling reason to consider the category again.

Just as importantly, Tortilla Pockets were easily recognizable and fluent with people’s expectations of the brand (Mexican made easy), cementing Old El Paso’s position as the go-to brand for Mexican at home.

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We were supported by leading market research technology platform Cint to collect data from respondents in the UK.

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