Navigating Through Supply Chain Upheaval 

How data and collaboration helped Barilla overcome supply challenges at Kroger

category share points
volume growth


Barilla, a renowned pasta brand, was in a tight spot with severe supply constraints due to COVID-19 panic buying. Acosta’s BI team stepped in to mitigate the challenges posed by the pandemic, using data to lead Barilla to tangible wins. 

Acosta’s BI team operates collaboratively and cross-functionally, working closely with Acosta’s sales team and Barilla’s sales team. This partnership thrives on inclusivity, with all team members actively participating. This open and fluid approach ensures that each member brings their unique skills and perspectives to the table, fostering a holistic understanding of the market dynamics. 

Amidst the challenges posed by COVID-19, Acosta’s BI team played a pivotal role in supporting Barilla’s engagement with Kroger, one of their most critical retailer partners. Monthly meetings with the Kroger Buyer became a forum for addressing challenges, setting expectations, and forecasting demand. Acosta’s BI team developed a market share tracker, demonstrating how Kroger was gaining market share and outperforming competitors, even with limited inventory and reduced promotional activity. This tool ensured transparency and solidified trust and alignment between Barilla and Kroger. 

Barilla’s partnership with Acosta was instrumental during this period in addressing: 

Supply Constraints: Barilla faced severe supply constraints, necessitating inventory allocation to specific retailers. Acosta’s inventory tracker monitored the situation weekly, ensuring an accurate understanding of the available inventory. 

Minimizing Out of Stocks (OOS): The downstream support from Acosta, led by the headquarter sales team, played a critical role in ensuring that Barilla’s products were consistently available on the shelves. By prioritizing top stores and developing a custom retail solution that consisted of syndicated coverage and dedicated retail teams in select markets, the Acosta team was able to help minimize gaps in inventory and increase product availability.

The collaboration between Barilla, Acosta, and Kroger resulted in several tangible wins. Barilla not only experienced an increase in category share of 1.5 pts at Kroger over the following two years, but was able to mitigate market share erosion for Kroger in the midst of consumers shifting to other channels. These wins had a direct financial impact, allowing Barilla to grow 1.5x faster than the next leading brand in the category and fostered trust and goodwill between the two companies. The strong partnership led to further victories in subsequent years, including the launch of the new Al Bronzo pasta line with 6 SKUs, continued expansion of the flagship pasta brand, and increased distribution of the Barilla Pesto offerings. 

Acosta played a pivotal role in ensuring Barilla’s success during a challenging period by providing timely insights, facilitating communication with key retail partners, and working closely with the client’s sales team. It exemplifies how a collaborative, data-driven approach can turn challenges into opportunities. 

“Thanks to the talented team at Acosta, Barilla has always been looked at by Kroger as the category thought leader. Everyone at Barilla Corporate respects and appreciates the ongoing efforts forged toward our brands.” 

Dave Gajus

Kroger Team Leader, Barilla