The food industry, much like the rest of the world, is constantly changing and becoming more modern. This is especially prevalent amongst food companies, which are always attempting outshine each other and release the most creative, innovative snacks such as Taco Bell's nacho french fries launch or Oreo's recent addition of cherry cola and chocolate hazelnut flavored cookies. In the same vein, recently, rumors circulated that Doritos was anticipating the launch of a new "lady friendly" line of chips that are a lot more dainty than your average bag of Doritos. 

Where it all started...

This creation surfaced the media during a Freakonomics interview with the CEO of Pepsi—which own's Frito Lay, the manufacturer of Doritos—Indra Nooyi. In this conversation, Nooyi discussed the gender differences in the consumption of Doritos. She claimed that, while both men and women enjoy the product equally, they eat the product quite differently. According to Nooyi, men "lick their fingers with great glee, and when they reach the bottom of the bag, they pour the little broken pieces into their mouth.” However, women, Nooyi powerfully stated, "don't like to crunch too loudly in public. And they don't lick their fingers generously and they don't like to pour the little broken pieces and the flavor into their mouth." As a result, Nooyi said that Doritos was interested in packaging and designing snacks specifically for women. 

So, what would this product actually look like?

In the interview, Nooyi described some key flavor and consistency changes that would occur in the making of these female-oriented Doritos, which would include maintaining "the full taste profile" but with "low crunch" and not as "much of the flavor stick on the fingers." Additionally, she included there would be some size alterations so that these triangle snacks can happily fit into a purse "because women love to carry a snack in their purse." While Nooyi seemed pretty optimistic about her creation, the rest of the world did not seem too pleased. 

What was the response? 

The general consensus slammed the company for reinforcing the tired gender norm and stereotype that women are expected to be polite, dainty, proper, and lady-like. In particular, a spokeswoman from the Women's Equality Party said that “companies that perpetuate these tired gender stereotypes will continue to lose out on the single biggest consumer group: women. No doubt some male consumers will welcome the chance to have a bigger package. But the idea of shrinking products for women, no doubt for the same price, is as old as the Ad Men making these decisions.” On top of this notable statement, the public looked to social media to express their feelings and opinions on Dorito's potential product. 

Following these strong reactions, Doritos retracted the statement about their potential launch of women targeted chips, claiming it was "inaccurate," despite the fact that it came directly from Pepsi's female CEO. To further clear the air, the company issued a public announcement responding to the criticism saying, “we already have Doritos for women—they’re called Doritos, and they’re enjoyed by millions of people every day. At the same time, we know needs and preferences continue to evolve and we’re always looking for new ways to engage and delight our consumers.” 

While there may be some truth to the idea that not everyone enjoys a loud crunchy snack or a chip that leaves residue on their fingers, Doritos was wrong in generalizing this opinion to only women. If the company wanted to go about creating and marketing a new version of their beloved triangle snack, they would have avoided this entire PR scandal by simply announcing it as a Dorito for all genders on-the-go, perfect in size, texture, and (lack of) noise for consumption in public places.